Running on (coffee) fumes

A coffee blogger's journey into the world of running

It’s been a while since the last blog post - a few things have happened since those carefree days of June/July - namely another COVID-19 outbreak and more lockdown.

The world keeps moving but it wasn’t really a time to blog about coffee. I drank a lot of coffee, though. And I ran.

I ran because I’ve been training for an event that has been disrupted by COVID - the Taupo Ultra 24km trail run. It was meant to be this weekend, and for the last 13 weeks I’ve been quietly training for it thanks to the guidance from the great team at Squad Run.

But then COVID came and disrupted important things, and unimportant things, like this run.

So, now I’ve got another 10 weeks of training to get through. Another 10 weeks to get fitter and stronger - both physically and mentally.

As I take this on, I realize that for the last 13 weeks of training, I’ve sort of just been doing it - following the program, logging the miles and racking up the Strava segments. I haven’t really been super mindful of the journey, and I thought that I might make the most of the next 10 weeks of training and keep a record of my thoughts and feelings.

If, for nothing else, to serve as a personal reminder to me about why I did this - just in case I decide to do something stupid in the future, like sign up for the Ring of Fire in March 2022

So for the next wee while, this will be a blog about why people should avoid running at all costs, and the coffee I’m drinking to get me to the start line.

I’m not sure what it’ll look like, or what it’ll cover. But it’ll be a thing I’m sure. I hope I don’t scare people away with the running chat. Don’t worry - there’ll be coffee chat too!

COFFEE CHAT.


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I’m not a runner

I have until recently, had a pretty negative view towards running. Running hurt. Still does. Running was hard. Still is. Running was slow. I haven’t got faster.

My running CV consists of a slow half marathon 10 years ago, a few 10km events, and a lot of pointless jogs that caused injury.

Last year I started running during lockdown. I ran every day. I was hard at first. Then a bit easier. Then a lot harder. Then WAY harder. So I stopped. I was running too far (like 4km) too often (every day) too soon (without a crescendo of miles to build up). So I stopped. For months.

In November 2022 I decided to give it one last go - the last hurrah - if this sucked then I was done for running for good.

I signed up for a 10km event in February with the goal of just finishing it without stopping. I did 8 weeks of a training program thanks to Strava, and I did it. I nailed a PB and basked in the accomplishment of being 900 out of like 1000.

I still didn’t love running. It was a means to an end. Both literally and metaphorically.

So, I was done. No more running. Time to focus on my career or something.

I was complaining about how much I hated running one day at work, and a colleague (who runs ultra marathons for fun - dick) said I should sign up for a longer run. A harder run. A trail run in Taupo. I laughed. Then for some reason, I signed up.

I really don’t know why. The challenge of finishing it? Maybe. The challenge of beating myself up? Probably.

Something clicked

For 13 odd weeks I’ve been following a running program. I’ll cover it some other time, but it’s got me doing a bunch of different runs for different reasons. And running during lockdown - which was weird…

It’s been good though. I’m learning about running for the first time ever. I’m learning about how the body adapts, and what I need to do to make different things happen. I'm exploring more of Wellington. I saw a kākā in the bush. That shit is rare.

However, it’s still been a battle. Mentally it still hasn’t been enjoyable. It’s been a drag. It’s been another ‘thing’. Until recently.

The weirdest thing happened. I was on a run, and something in my brain went from ‘going for a run’ to ‘doing a sport’. I was no longer going for a run. I was running.

It was sort of like the difference between practicing football on a cold winter’s night and actually playing the game. It’s different somehow. The mental approach is different. The feeling is different. The pain is different.

I’m still not a runner

I play football, but I’m not a footballer.

I run, but I’m not a runner.

Maybe something in the next 10 weeks will shift and I’ll go from doing it to being it. Like all those other punishing running freaks.

Eugh.

Don’t worry - I’m not going to be one of those people trying to get everyone into running - to experience the ‘runners high’. Nah. I’d rather try get everyone into kayaking, which is much, much more enjoyable.

Coffee has been powering me through it

Outside of one run where I suffered from some *cough* ‘gastric distress’ (I might do a post about it at some stage…), coffee and caffeine haven’t had the terrible effects on me that some people experience.

Which, for someone who drinks a lot of coffee, has been great.

Coffee has been a part of my running ritual and prep. Whether it’s a pipping hot Aeropress thanks to the Drumming Barista while I drive to the start of a crazy hill, or a cold drip of some tasty as fudge Kenyan post run, coffee has been an important part of this trip.

So much so, there are times the Aeropress will come on a run with me for a cheeky brew half way through…

So I’ll keep busting out some coffee hints and tips, and some coffee and running advice that might just help to remind me what to avoid in the future.

Coffee hint of the week - TDB Aeropress Recipe

The Drumming Barista has just done something brave - packed up his life in Wellington to move down to Christchurch to follow his dreams. What a legend and inspiration.

If you don’t already, go follow him on his Substack and his Instagram to get some sick coffee ‘tent.

I wanted to share his Aeropress Recipe. I have been smashing it the last few weeks, and made a brew of this before a run (lol - a walk) up the Mount this last week.

I wanted to share it because at peak hurt, the flavour of this coffee came back and smacked me in the face. And for the last 200m of the climb, all I could think about was the coffee I had only an hour before. It was a pleasant and very welcome distraction.

This is what I looked like at the top.

So, it needed to be shared. I might help you get up a hill too. Go check out the OG post on his Substack - but here it is in all it’s glory.

The Drumming Barista Method

20g coffee - 150g water. Inverted method.

Make sure you rinse your paper filter. Put the plunger into the brew chamber and pour your ground coffee into your Aeropress. Pop the Aeropress onto your scales.

0’00 - pour 100g of water over the ground coffee.
0’15 - stir 20 times - vigoursly.
0’30 - press the Aeropress down so the coffee comes to the edge of the chamber. Place the cap on and leave it to sit for one minute.
1’30 - flip the Aeropress over onto your favourite mug or vessel and press down fast for 30 seconds.
2’00 - Remove the Aeropress and add the 50g of water directly into your brewed coffee.


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