Meet Flavie Dokken: The Competitive Ultra Marathon Runner Who Uses Cannabis To Keep Her Going
When Flavie Dokken moved from her home in the French Alps to Boulder, Colorado, she found herself at home in the athlete’s paradise. Today, it’s a great locale for her sport of choice, ultra running, but the lifelong athlete has pushed herself to the edge in more than just one extreme discipline.
Dokken began as a track and field athlete focusing on shorter distances, and eventually traded in her running shoes for a squat rack and a set of plates as a competitive bodybuilder and weightlifter.
“My friends in Boulder introduced me to cannabis to help me recover from lifting sessions,” she says, noting two specific ways it’s helped her be a better athlete: “It really helps to bring my heart rate back down after an intense training session, and sleep is key for recovery. I can get into resting mode and a deep sleep faster with cannabis.”
Flavie Dokken: Extreme Sports Junkie
After a successful stint as a competitive lifter, Dokken joined one of the most hardcore teams in the country: the U.S. Army. But when she suffered a series of fractures to her femur, she was prescribed opioids for the pain.
Ultimately the injury resulted in her discharge.
“When I moved back to Boulder, cannabis had become legal. That’s when I started experimenting with CBD and THC,” she says.
Along with help from a physical therapist, Dokken says cannabis once again served as a great addition to her recovery, and eventually allowed her to reduce the inflammation in her body enough to take on a new extreme sport.
“It was a tool that helped me get my body back on track and actually be able to run again,” she says.
From Recovery To Ultra Marathons
After suffering a severe leg injury, most people would resign themselves to a lifetime of restricted movement. But for Dokken, recovery with cannabis gave way to a new path (albeit a steep one often littered with rocks and other obstacles): ultra marathon running.
A marathon is a footrace of just over 42 kilometers, an already daunting distance, but ultra marathon running (sometimes just ‘ultra’ running) is any footrace longer than the standard distance. Races are often held in areas with challenging terrain and climates, something Dokken says she prefers to lean into.
“When I enter a race, I like to pick the tough ones,” she says. “It’s a great way to build resilience, which I’m all about. It’s a big concept in the armed forces and it’s kind of a way for me to keep building on that.”
There are several reasons Dokken, a Wana athlete, chooses to run ultra marathons.
“It’s not just a sport. It’s a way to combine traveling, and to improve as an athlete but also as a person,” she says. “I think when you get into extreme sports or any challenging endeavours, it really impacts everything around you: your relationships, your work, how you handle life in general.”
“I’ve been an athlete all my life, but ultra? I’ll never stop until my body breaks down.”
Adding To The Runner’s High
While a lifting session might last an hour or two, training for ultra running requires significantly more time, generally between five to eight hours. To ease the mental weight of the enormous task, Dokken likes to take edibles.
“I’ll take an edible and break it down, and ingest a small dose of about five milligrams as I start my run,” she says. “Then halfway through or toward the last hour or two, I’ll have another bite.”
She says a little bit of THC helps to keep her focused and to ease any pain that starts to arise after several hours on the trail. After a training session, she likes to combine CBD and THC in a one-to-one ratio to help fight off inflammation.
Stigma In Athletics Still Remains
Despite living in a part of the world where cannabis is legal, Dokken says stigma still remains in some of Boulder’s more competitive athletic communities.
“It’s not like I live in Georgia, but there are still communities of more established sports, like cycling or triathlon where there can still be a lot of stigma in Boulder depending on your circles,” she says. “Some might consume, but it will be behind closed doors.”
But Dokken doesn’t let the opinions of other athletes influence her training. She says she’ll continue to use cannabis as part of her regimen and advises other athletes interested in using it to first seek out a good physical therapist, one with a focus on athletics.
“Find a good physical therapist, one that really deals with athletes and would not recourse to pain medication right away,” she says. “Cannabis can be a good tool.”