I Got High And Ran A 5k. And Won.


Running down a Long Beach bike path on an early Saturday morning, Pacific ocean on my left, cool breeze in my face, and 50 or so other runners huffing and puffing behind me, I was having fun! I was also high! And I was winning a 5k! 

Let me be clear, though: I am NOT bragging that I won this 5k. This was a “race” only in the most broad sense of the term. There was technically a start and finish line (both drawn in chalk) and a starter (a nice elderly man with an early aughts-style bluetooth in his ear). I was told there was an official timer although I never received an official time. 

All of the other runners were clearly there to have a nice jog with their friends and/or some friendly strangers on a weekend morning. None of them cared about winning. I kinda cared. Well, I cared a lot. I can’t help it. And that’s not me bragging, I swear. All I’m saying is, the fact that I showed up in full race day gear (singlet, very short shorts, and racing shoes) and visibly amped from my pre-race playlist (mostly a Taking Back Sunday album I used to listen to before races in college) made me much more of a spaz than a champion.

Competition aside, I’ve run a ton of 5ks in my life and I’ve gotten high in my life plenty of times too, but doing both at the same time was a new experience for me. About a third of the way through the race, ego boosted from being in the lead and mind calm and introspective from weed, wearing a big dumb smile on my big dumb face, I couldn’t help but wonder why I hadn’t done this before.

The thing I like most about smoking weed is it helps me fully take in what’s in front of me by slowing down the stray worries, self-doubting thoughts, and narcissism that seem to demand attention any time I try to focus on something not critically important. It’s why I like getting high before watching a movie or a baseball game. I can both relax and pay attention to them simultaneously, and for pure enjoyment instead of needing some sort of survival instinct to kick in. 

That’s just what happened during this 5k. I was able to let go of the tension and doubts I normally feel while running (Why didn’t I train harder for this? What if I could be going faster? What if I should be doing something else altogether?) and enjoy the moment of whisking along the shoreline on a beautiful morning. It helped me feel the freedom and excitement and pride that comes with letting my body run fast, my out-of-place outfit notwithstanding. 

Of course, I’m not the first person to think of getting high and exercising. From Olympic Trials competitors to local exercise groups, people choosing to get a little stoned for the monotonous activity of physical fitness is pretty much a no brainer. After all, to most of us, exercise is a chore. Doing laundry is more fun to me after smoking weed, why not try it before going for a run? 

My wife was nice enough to give me a ride to the race (5:30am wake up time!). Fifteen minutes before I was to head to the start line, after I handed her my sweats, she handed me my weed pen and I took a few hits. For this race I used Genius’ disposable vape with the hybrid Do-Si-Do strain. I like the way hybrids like the Do-Si-Do are balanced. They keep me focused but don't get me too buzzy. That’s my preference for both easy jogs on trails or, apparently, dominating friendly 5k’s. 

And dominate I did. 

As I was coasting into the finish line, much sweatier than anyone else on the beach that day, I was still feeling the same smooth high I did early on in the race. I didn’t run my hardest—after noticing no one else was trying as hard as I was, I gave myself permission to let my foot off the gas a little—but I ran hard enough to achieve that feeling of satisfaction from a hard task completed. And not for nothing, I ran hard enough to beat the second place runner by over a minute.

As a fitting souvenir of my weird and wonderful morning, I received a gigantic finishers medal that almost chipped my tooth when the old bluetooth man insisted on putting it on me after the race, Olympics-style. 

I was way overdressed in full race gear, I was high, and I had a gigantic first place medal around my neck. I take back what I said earlier, I was a spaz and a champion.