• Tell us a little about your book! What inspired you to write it,  and/or what do you hope readers will take away from reading it?

 Around the age of 30, I went through an extreme personal transformation, going from a sedentary, alcoholic smoker who’d never exercised a day in his life, to someone who ran for miles around the city of Denver and nearby mountain trails every day. The magical key to this transformation? Cannabis edibles.

As I entered the world of trail running, I discovered my story was far from unique. Defying everything I’d known about sports culture, it turned out scores of pro athletes (as well as weekend warriors) were using cannabis as an exercise supplement. As I explored the science behind this trend, it turned out cannabis offers a whole buffet of benefits to athletes—both physical and psychological.

Surprised at the scope of cannabis use in sports—contrasted against the conventional wisdom that cannabis users were lazy and unambitious—I felt compelled to gather as much scientific data, anecdotes of personal transformation, and first-hand experience on the subject of weed and workout as I possibly could. Runner’s Highis the result of four years of hard-nose reporting on a previously ignored, underground trend in athletics, fueled by an itchy curiosity and a mission to rebrand cannabis as an effective tool in the fitness tackle box.

From an evolutionary science standpoint, humans should be enjoying exercise as much as we do food, sex or sleep. Having personally loathed exercise my entire life—along with the vast majority of Americans—I was suspicious about this natural “runners high” I’d been told about. As it turns out, our brains and bodies produce their own cannabinoids nearly identical to those found in cannabis, which are behind the elusive pleasures of physical activity (not endorphins, as conventional wisdom has believed).

For most of us, our modern, sedentary lifestyle of stress, insomnia and terrible food have crippled this “endocannabinoid system,” cutting us off from the hedonistic pleasures of exercise. Thankfully, modern society has gifted us with a newly legal (in half the country, anyway) botanical substance that stimulates this system, reviving our long-dormant connection between fun and fitness. Cannabis!

I was further encouraged when I began seeing study after study revealing that those who use cannabis typically exercise more, have lower rates of diabetes, cancer and obesity, and are more likely to enjoy exercise than their sober counterparts.

  • What is your relationship to cannabis? Is it part of your creative practice? Do you have a current favorite strain or New York brand/product?

I use cannabis daily for a variety of purposes. It can be a great stimulant for creativity, facilitating communication between disparate regions of the brain, which often leads to new perspectives and ideas, as well as new approaches to the execution of those ideas.

Cannabis has always boosted my enthusiasm for whatever I’m doing: be it cleaning, conversing, exercising, writing, or just engaging with a movie.

I haven’t been out to NYC since legalization really took effect there, but I am very excited to try out that market when visiting for this fun run! In Denver I enjoy edibles from Wana and Incredibles, as well as making my own edibles with my decarboxylator. I often chat with budtenders at the dispensary when selecting a strain of flower, as strains often differ from one dispensary to the next. Golden Goat and Sour Diesel are two of my favorites.

I greatly enjoy a bong packed with ice after my runs (which are always in the evening) though typically don’t smoke before running. I know a lot of people who do, and I do it from time to time myself, but in my experience smoking results in too much of a spike and dip in effect, which can be problematic on the long runs when you want your heart-rate to stay low. Also, in my experience, edibles deliver a body high that makes the experience of running all the more euphoric.

  • Tell us about the first, best, or funniest time you got high.

The first time I got high I was eighteen, living in the small town in North Iowa where I grew up. I was in a car with some older kids passing around a bowl, and when I smelled the burning cannabis my first thought was “that smells like my Dad.”

I took two hits, then they dropped me off at a friend’s house. No one at the house had ever smoked weed (we were all good evangelical boys at the time) and they were all perplexed by how animated and energized I was. I felt hyper and exuberant, eventually breaking into a song and dance from The Music Man (which was written about our hometown).

“I thought this stuff was supposed to make you tired,” one friend asked another, as I launched into “Ya Got Trouble,” skipping and singing around the house.

  • Where is your favorite place to weed and/or read?

My favorite place to get high is in my apartment right before running in Cheesman Park (which is only a few blocks away). I enjoy getting high and running trails in the mountains, but hate dealing with traffic getting there and back, which often ruins my buzz. I am so envious of New Yorkers who can get high and never have to worry about driving a car!

I also really love getting high and riding my bike through the Denver trails, winding up at the Alamo Drafthouse Theater a couple hours later. There I’ll pop an edible, enjoy a meal and a movie, then ride back home.

My favorite places to read are Bardo Coffee House in Denver, in the hammock on my balcony, or on a blanket in Cheesman Park following a long run.

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