The Next Stoner Ironman

Posted: November 11, 2010 in Lifestyle

I have a rather sensitive confession to make: I smoke pot.

There.  I said it.

I’m just not making the bid to be another serious triathlete here; I’m going for the quiet accolades of being the first hippie Ironman.  So put that in your aero bottle and smoke it tough guy.

They say that you never do anything different on race day than what you do normally on your typical training days and, in my case, this just happens to involve liberal doses of the kind bud.  In fact, my typical pre-race ritual is a little hoot of the good stuff about half an hour before I enter the water.  It makes the swim start a little less stressful, the bike ride a little more enjoyable and the run, well, let’s just say it makes my run suck only marginally less.  Instead of the typical thoughts that run through my head during a race, like “I wonder if I can do this”, “I wonder what my split time is”, or “boy, is this ever difficult”…I’m usually having more pleasant and relaxing thoughts go through my mind like “oh look, fishies!”

Marijuana does not seem to hinder either my motivation or my ability to push myself when required.  I still get myself out of bed early in the mornings, get those long rides in  and I put my wetsuit on one leg at a time just like every other triathlete.  Except that I may just be a little bit more giddy about it.  I can swim, bike and run high just as easily as I can as I can when I am not.  In fact, probably more so while high, and anyone who thinks that this habit is a hindrance can feel free to join me on any one of my morning swims or long weekend rides and try and keep up.

Having a nice buzz and taking that run definitely puts me in the zone.  I’m suddenly very aware of the birds chirping, the bee’s buzzing, the drifting butterflies, the wind in the trees, or maybe the the stars at night, and not the constant aching in my legs.  If it’s not fun what’s the point?

There are multiple reasons why people might try to dissuade me from this training practice but I think all the usual various rationales are complete and utter bullshit.  I know that smoking in general is the cardinal sin of all endurance athletes and it’s why I have remained silent on the topic until now.  But I don’t smoke cigarettes and so I don’t inhale the typical high levels of tar, nicotine, arsenic, methanol, ammonia, carbon monoxide and whatever other nasty carcinogens that happen to be in there.  I just happen to like getting a small glow on before I head out for my training sessions.

So in effort to debunk those doubters and disbelievers out there, I have listed here the commonly regarded symptoms of marijuana when related to endurance-specific training:

1)      Causes changes in personality, inducing hallucinations, delusions and symptoms of psychosis.

Yeah…and?  How does this affect performance exactly?  It’s not like I’m seeing bears on unicycles when I look at other riders or sea monsters skulking in the bottom of the pool, and I have never experienced anything that would be considered as delusional (except, maybe, my chances of a podium finish in my age category).  And as far as ‘symptoms of psychosis’ go; really?  Aren’t all triathletes just a little crazy anyway?

2)      Impairing short term memory and perception

What do I have to remember exactly?  That’s why I keep a workout journal.  It’s not like I forget which order I am supposed to be competing in and then try to put on my wetsuit before running or ride my bike into the lake.  Besides, when competing in long distance events, what does it hurt if that distance seems just a little shorter or if I somehow managed to forget the last painful 12 miles before finishing?  Sounds like the perfect race if you ask me. 

3)      Increasing blood flow to the limbs

This is a bad thing?  Shit, if marijuana really does increase blood flow to the limbs I say that all triathletes should be prescribed medicinal marijuana before all their training sessions.  They should be offering bongs before the starting bell and maybe at all the aid stations.  Blood makes the body go; so bring it on.

4)      Decreasing maximal work capacity

Bullshit.  Period.  I have never bunked off a training day to sit on the couch watching Jerry Springer.  Motivation and work ethic are a mindset not something that you switch on and off again like a light bulb.  I am perfectly capable of maintaining my training regiment under the influence just as easily as I can sober.  Quite to the contrary, marijuana may put a small smile on my face before heading out for one of my dreaded long runs where, typically, I would look for some excuse to do something else instead.

5)      Timing, movement, and coordination

I find that when I’m under the influence I can actually focus more on my technique and better concentrate on my form as opposed to just putting in the “junk miles” for the sake of doing so.  Maybe I am unique this way, but pot actually enables me to dispense with my pride a little bit and slow down so that I can work on my specific skill development whether it be my swim stroke, my pedaling technique or my running cadence.  This does not seem to be an issue for me.

Now, I’m not saying now that I recommend this ritual for all athletes (obviously).  What I am saying is that each person is a unique and beautiful snowflake, and if a little weed makes this particular snowflake a little happier and capable out on the course or during training sessions – then so be it.

  1. This is quite possibly the best first post I have ever read.

  2. Very descriptive post, I liked that bit. Will
    there be a part 2?

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