The 2018 CrossFit Games will be remembered by Dani Horan as a week where one thing after another seemed to go wrong. It didn’t take the six-time Games veteran long to realize this was going to be a tough week - she had just gotten her period and as an athlete suffering from endometriosis, this in and of itself can be a struggle. Then she had a cyst rupture on the second lap of The Crit event on day one. Horan did what CrossFit fans have come to expect from the former gymnast and competitive equestrian jumper - she dug in and went to work - ultimately she finished 33rd, her worst finish at the Games. I met Dani when she came by the Pure Spectrum booth at the Games, then had the chance to meet her mother as well, when she came by on day three just to say thank you to the Pure Spectrum team. Dani and I were able to catch up last week to talk about her performance, CBD and her future in CrossFit.
When were you first introduced to CBD, was it at the Games or before?
I am always looking for natural cures and I had been reading about CBD for a while - but WADA didn’t allow it which I thought was crazy. Vermont has medicinal marijuana, and I had asked about getting a therapeutic exemption from CrossFit - but was told it would more than likely not be granted.
We have a large dispensary here in Vermont that sells CBD and as soon as WADA removed it from the banned list in January of this year, I started taking it. The biggest thing I noticed right away was the sleep. I normally would wake up four to five times a night - and it helped with that a lot. When I started taking Pure Spectrum’s products I really started to notice a difference not only in my sleep but my gut health and acne as well.
Since Midol is banned by WADA, I never had anything I could really take that would help with my cramps either - with Pure Spectrum’s topical and tincture, I was able to get rid of really bad cramps in about 40 minutes. This is the first product I have ever used that has worked for my periods.
That’s quite a laundry list of things you are using it for, with success. Do you see CBD as a product that will continue to gain traction with CrossFit athletes?
I see it as the new fish oil, apple cider vinegar - one thing you can take that fixes almost everything. One thing athletes need to be aware of though is there are a lot of crappy CBD products out there - the difference I saw using Pure Spectrum’s products tells me that the purity and potency matter.
I can see that, because of all the uses - but with it being produced from the cannabis plant - even though Pure Spectrum and other companies have a THC-free product - did you encounter any negative reaction from other athletes at the Games when you discussed CBD?
I got some weird looks from people, you know those looks like they are thinking “what are you doing, are you doing drugs?” - a few of those, some curiosity but there was also a lot of positive reaction and curiosity as well.
The 2018 Games. What’s the takeaway from your experience this year?
I haven’t really processed what happened this year. I had adrenal fatigue after the Games in 2017. I took four months off, just did some really basic conditioning during that time, took a huge off-season and just really focused on healing my body. I tried a new coach, it wasn’t a good fit. Three weeks before the Open I took over my own programming. I think I just started too late - I was able to get healthy and heal - but I just don’t think I had enough time to get ready. I had a rough go of it at the Games. Stabbing pain from the cyst rupturing didn’t help. The events this year were very different as well - there was not a lot of “CrossFit” events if that makes sense. I tried my best - but like I said, I’m still trying to process it all.
The recovery after a week of Games events has to be unreal - especially when things don’t go your way, or events are not in your wheelhouse. What was your experience afterwards, and did you use CBD to aid in that recovery?
I thought I was gonna be ungodly sore this year - I used CBD consistently - and while my muscles were certainly very fatigued, but the level or soreness was not nearly what it has been in the past.
The average age on the women’s podium this year is about 23. Is that something you think about when you are out on the competition floor trying to go head-to-head with these athletes as a 30 year old?
I’m definitely older in this sport. As an athlete I know I am in better shape than I was last year, but everyone is getting better every year and I’m not getting better as fast as I did when I was younger. I ask myself “was this just an off year?” The Games were really hard for me this year. Everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong, but I just wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t in good enough shape.
So what does the future look like for Dani Horan. Will you be back in 2019? Is that even a goal for you?
I know that I want to compete this year - I am planning on competing this year - and I will just leave it at that for right now. Like I said, I am still trying to work through everything, so l’ll just say that - I plan on competing this year. One thing I can say is, that my goal for the future is to become more involved in the community. I know other people out there experience the things I experience - female athletes who suffer from terrible periods, adrenal fatigue, acne, gut issues, sleep, all of those things - I know they want a way to cure them. I want to spread the word about CBD - I want to help people through programming, nutrition, information - that is one of my goals regardless of my future as a competitor.