Why ultrarunning and CBD?

2017 Hallucination 100 Mile Ultramarathon

Well, the first one is easy. I like to run. I like to have time to myself to think and enjoy the outdoors. I like to challenge myself. I like that feeling of stretching myself to the point where I am unsure what my limits are. I like the confidence that comes from finishing and know that I didn’t break. That time.

The CBD (or Cannabidiol) thing is a little more complicated. I’ve been interested in holistic medicine for a long time, whether it is acupuncture or herbal remedies. While I’ve approached it with some healthy scientific skepticism (I do have a Ph.D.), I also recognize that the political economy of the pharmaceutical industry isn’t set up to provide us with the best or even healthiest range of options. That’s led me to experiment with a few different things that may not have a full body of evidence supporting their effect, but at least don’t appear to be harmful. Examples for me would include things like glucosamine chondroitin (which I am very convinced helps my knees and hips), spirolina (which seems to keep my allergies at bay), and tumeric (anti-inflammatory). With the recent regulatory changes related to hemp and the rise of the CBD industry, I figured why not give it a try?

The real answer is that I want to keep running ultramarathons and I’m getting old. Older at least. In 2017, I dropped out of my last 100 mile race after mile 80 because of hip pain and last month I spent nearly a month incapacitated caused by an apparently out of the blue back injury. My recovery time isn’t what it used to be and balancing work/life/family demands is always a challenge. If there is something that can help me bounce back a little faster and avoid injuries, I am all in. Well, at least I am willing to give it a try with careful consideration and testing.

I know that the science behind CBD is a little murky, but I know enough about science (and I even teach college statistics!) to know that a lack of evidence doesn’t mean that there is no association. It is possible that science just hasn’t found it yet. Furthermore, the (until recently) federal regulations making research on hemp based products difficult has made collecting that evidence really problematic. And when it comes down to it, I’m a pragmatist! If it helps my running and doesn’t hurt me in other ways, I don’t need to know why! So stay tuned as today is the first official day of my training plan and I will keep you updated as things progress!

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Run the Javelin Jundred?

So, I’m thinking about running the Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Ultramarathon at the end of October. It’s a bit of an ambitious goal because I had originally targeted this back in January and was well on my way to training for it when a sudden back injury sidelined me for over a month. And when I say sidelined, I mean my wife had to help me get dressed in the morning for weeks and I had a few days when I couldn’t get out of bed. It was honestly the most chronic pain that I’ve ever dealt with.

Are you starting to see why I’m interested in the possible benefits of CBD? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not putting all of my eggs in one basket. I’m finishing up physical therapy and planning to do more cross training than in the past. My hope is that CBD will be the extra edge to keep me on track by keeping inflammation at bay and shorten recovery time.In any case, I was originally planning on shooting for a race later in the year or even early next year, but I realized that this will be my last shot to qualify for Western States this year. Unfortunately, it also means that I will be jumping into 30 mile training weeks with relatively little base. In any case, I’m not going to drop the $300+ registration fee until my body holds hold up for a few weeks. Wish me luck!

Life’s a journey, not a destination.

I decided that I need another project. Maybe it’s a midlife crisis driving an attempt to hold onto my youth (I’m 43). Maybe it’s just curiosity or boredom and my interest will fade in a few months.

I’ve decided to run 100 miles. Again.

I’ve completed 100 mile races four times. I’ve also failed four times. My last attempt was in 2017. My last successful run was in 2016 (https://youtu.be/Vs76R0sSipI). I’ve actually been running ultramarathons on and off for over 15 years. I even used to blog about it. And let me tell you, it hasn’t gotten any easier.

I decided to do a little experiment this time around. I’m currently waiting for a small bottle of CBD oil to arrive at my doorstep. For those who haven’t heard the buzz, this is a hemp derivative that has some interesting medical potential and has only recently become legal through the US. This will be my experiment of one as I see whether CBD can help me on my journey to 100 miles.

Why CBD? Honestly, it’s because I stumbled across this interesting article in Runner’s World where the author used it for a month with some success. The idea of avoiding ibuprofen while also reducing the aches and pains of training sounded pretty good. I still need to pick a target race and to develop a training plan (and to even take any CBD oil), but please follow me as a start this little experiment of one.