Ryan Linden of Team Every Man Jack has been very busy already even though his season has not yet started. He just returned from Boston where his wife Des Linden grabbed a magnificent win at the 2018 Boston Marathon. On a very cold, rainy and windy day Des Linden became the first American female in 33 years to grab this coveted title, and her husband Ryan, who is a very splendid runner in his own right, was there too. But he was watching from a distance and sweating bullets despite the cold weather.
Now that the party time is over, IRONMAN Santa Rosa is looming large and Ryan Linden wants to grab another Kona ticket.
Slowtwitch: Ryan, thank you so much for your time.
Ryan Linden: Thank you for the opportunity to chat, always a fan of the interviews on slowtwitch.
ST: Have you had a chance to take a breather since the Boston Marathon, or has it been crazy busy?
Ryan: We are just about a week since the race, and I will say this weekend has been the first chance for me to take a deep breath. Since Des crossed the finish line Monday it’s been pretty crazy, but also super fun and exciting.
ST: Where were you during the race and how did you occupy the time while Des was running?
Ryan: I think this year was the first time Des has run Boston and I didn’t go with her to the starting line. Decided to change things up this year and I guess it worked out pretty good. With saying that, I stayed back the hotel and got a little workout in before the race started. Because Boston is a point-to-point race it makes it difficult to watch on the course. Personally I end up getting super nervous when she races because there is nothing I can do but watch, so I try to be some where alone. Once the race started I watched it from my room on the TV with a friend, and a good coffee in the room, trying to keep things as relaxed as possible. With about 3 miles to go I get a txt from the John Hancock PR guy that we need you to come downstairs, and I would be going to the finish line. Probably the longest 20 minutes of my life because at that point you have no TV or updates as to what was going on. They announced when she had 1 mile to go and that point I knew she had it and was just trying to take all the excitement in. It was great to be standing right at the finish line to see her come, and then to be there to hug her and hand the American flag off.
ST: And what were you wearing on this fine cold and wet day?
Ryan: Ha, I don’t think it mattered what you were wearing on the lovely weather day. Personally I had Brooks Ravenna on my feet, jeans, Louis Garneau 4 Seasons Hoodie Jacket, and the new Linden & True Coffee fitted hat. Everything was soaked besides the jacket, but it was all totally worth it.
ST: Did you even feel the cold while Des was on the podium?
Ryan: That is a no for sure. I did not even feeling the rain or wind.
ST: On race morning with weather in place what went through your mind and the mind of Des as far as you know?
Ryan: With us living in Michigan, and the way the spring has been we were lucky to have some very similar weather lately to train in. When she left that morning I was like this plays right to her strengths. For Des I don’t know, I think it was more of lets be smart, stay positive and not let the weather affect me.
ST: It looked a few times like Des was getting dropped or that she might be in trouble. Did you see it the same way?
Ryan: I know she said after the race the first couple miles were awful so it could have been just not feeling good. Many times there are surges at water stations breaking things up, as everyone tries to jockey for position and try not to get tangled up. I think there was one a little later around the time she helped Shalane back to the group and that one did get me nervous, and thinking it just might not be her day.
ST: When others are surging, does Des typically try to run steady if that is possible?
Ryan: It all depends on where she is in the race and who is doing the surging. But mostly she is sticking to her race pace and keeping it even.
ST: When she had a few minutes on the next competitor with a couple miles left, what went through your head?
Ryan: In my head I was like “be smart you got this Des,” but also was thinking back to 2011 where she lost by 2 seconds at the end and going “dear god please don’t let this happen again.”
ST: After the finish you gave her a very big hug. Do you recall the words that were exchanged?
Ryan: Yes it was a pretty big hug, word wise I think there was a little of holy shit, and fu*% yeah you did it. It would have been pretty cool if some one had a microphone on to record it for later.
ST: That night how long did the celebration last?
Ryan: Probably till just after 1 am. Des had interviews going on nonstop from the finish line till the awards, and then did an appearance at the public after party. Before we really started to celebrate with a group of friends. I think knowing she had to do TV and be up at 4:45am on Tuesday may have saved a bunch of us.
ST: And whose idea was it to drink out of the shoe?
Ryan: Des and I are huge Formula 1 fans and the driver Daniel Ricardo for Red Bull always does a shoey when he wins. Des decided since she won, she definitely had to do it.
ST: And will that be a tradition moving forward?
Ryan: Definitely it will be a tradition moving forward.
ST: Many look at you now as a very fast age group triathlete, but your background is running. Can you elaborate on that?
Ryan: Yes, so the last 5 years I have been doing long course triathlons. Prior to 2013 I had been running marathons only and tried to make the ’04 and ’08 trials. I are up in the town where the Brooks Hanson’s Team is, and knew a bunch of the guys when I was in college, and started to train with them full time running 120-130 mile weeks. After the ’08 trials Des and I had been dating for a while and at that point I started to train with her mostly on runs and workouts which worked out great. It makes for an interesting dynamic at home when you are training together and one person has a bad workout. But we did a lot of training together over the next couple years. We still run together and I will hop into some of her workouts when it aligns, its just not everyday. Actually prior to focusing on running I grew up swimming on a pretty serious club team in the area (OLY) that produced some stud swimmers.
ST: What were some of your swim PR times back then?
Ryan: I was primarily a 100 fly and 200 IM guy back in the day. 100 fly 55.85, 200 IM 2:04, 50 Free 21.89, 100 Free 52.10. If only I could swim those times now.
ST: How much do you swim now and could you describe one of your very hard swim sets?
Ryan: Typically I will swim 4-5 times a week, and they will be anywhere between 3-6k per swim.
400 warm up with a mix of strokes
Main set 2x
1st set with paddles, buoy, and band, E = Endurance pace F = Fast
20 seconds rest between
Bouy and Band 100 smooth into 100 for time
No toys 100 smooth into 100 for time
Paddles only 100 smooth into 100 for time
2nd time through exactly the same but no toys
This workout makes you hurt pretty much and I have done it also with 50s fast instead of 100ss.
ST: I believe your fastest marathon time was 2:26. When and where did you run that?
Ryan: Yes 2:26 is my fastest. I ran that back in 2010 in Chicago on a warm day.
ST: How did you then stumble upon triathlon?
Ryan: After Des ran the 2012 games in London, I figured it was time for a change after all the years of running. I was lucky to get connected with Matt Dixon of Purple Patch and that really helped or I would be lost. It was more of lets see what we can do, since having a swim and run background.
ST: What about triathlon found you well?
Ryan: The ability to put 2 of my strength sports together. I’m a true endurance athlete, so as the race gets longer the better I do.
ST: How is the cycling coming along
Ryan: Biking has taken a lot of time, and still has lots to learn. More saddle time is definitely helping out.
ST: When did you join the Every Man Jack team?
Ryan: I was lucky to become a part of the team in the fall of 2013. Crazy to think this is my 5th year on the team. Its amazing group of guys to be teammates with, and a big thanks to Ritch Viola for putting together all these years.
ST: You have been to Kona twice now and how did that find you?
Ryan: Kona was always my goal in the triathlon world. 2014 I qualified from Whistler earlier in the year, and 2016 I qualified the year before at Lake Tahoe. The first year 2014 didn’t go as planned and I was pulled off the course 6 miles into the run. 2016 it went much better, not perfect but was still a great day, and crossing the finish line was pretty special.
ST: What did you most enjoy about that Kona time?
Ryan: It has to be crossing the finish line on Ali’i Drive. The experience of Kona is just something you can’t describe at all. From the time you land on the island until race day.
ST: I think it was in 2016 when Des joined you there and got to experience all of that too. What did she think and was she somewhat anonymous there?
Ryan: Yes 2016 Des was able to join me for the time in Kona. We got lucky with her racing Rio in August, so she wasn’t racing in the fall and could just come and relax but still train. She thought people would really not notice her, but was pleasantly surprised how in tune the Kona athletes were with the running world and was noticed all around town.
ST: What is next for you?
Ryan: Next up for me is IRONMAN Santa Rosa in a couple weeks, with a goal of getting back to Kona.
ST: Is there anything else we should know?
Ryan: In the last 2 weeks me Des, Ben and Sarah True launched a coffee roasting company called Linden & True coffee that we did a pop up store in Boston for the marathon. The 4 of us are big time coffee nerds and wanted to share it with the rest of world, we hope you will check us out - coffeebylt.com
ST: What are some of the coffee names you are offering?
Ryan: For coffee names we have only done one unique name, and it was the Champions Roast. This was a Peru single origin I roasted a couple days before the marathon and had brought with us to make in the hotel room. I made Des this coffee on race morning hence the name, and guess it was pretty good. We also had a Costa Rican single origin that Ben had roasted, but left it's name as Costa Rican. We will have more coming out soon, and will have to discuss if we are going to have unique names for each roast.
ST: Best of luck.
Ryan: Appreciate the time to chat and looking forward to getting out on the race course soon. Thanks
Image 1 © Talbot Cox