Daily Running Challenge

I never thought I would say it, but Carmela and I decided to go streaking in Hawaii! No, not in the Old School kind of way “through the quad and into the gymnasium.” We decided to test our mental fortitude and physical endurance with a daily running challenge.

Although we’ve managed to stay relatively active with hikes and races throughout the islands, ever since our homie J.Diaz returned to the mainland, our priorities shifted towards “living” in paradise. It was time to buckle down and get some work done. Building a routine and finding healthier places to eat were essential in creating a sustainable lifestyle beyond the postcards and Adam Richman style chow-downs.

After the high vibrating state achieved at Wanderlust Oahu 2016, Carmela and I were eager to continue nourishing positive ions with resources readily available to us. Within a week, we signed up for a heavily discounted monthly membership to Core Power Yoga (thanks, Groupon!) and a monthly membership to Volcanic Rock Gym in Kailua. As if that wasn’t enough, Carmela proposed the most intimidating suggestion since signing up for our first half marathon in Brooklyn in 2013: “Can we run every day for thirty days straight, at least 1 mile a day?”

This was going to be our No Wrong Turns edition of “30 for 30”!


Shameless plug: *If you haven’t already, please consider donating to my Team for Kids fundraiser so that I can join Carmela at the New York City Marathon this November. I’m almost a third towards my goal of $2620


Sure, Hal Higdon’s novice marathon training is one of the toughest programs we’ve ever experienced. But each of the 18 weeks has at least two days of rest built into the schedule. Will our bodies be able to recover fast enough even if it was only one mile (minimum) a day? This new goal seemed just hard enough that we had to try it.

“Challenge accepted!”

The first week was grueling. Living in Pacific Heights, we failed to realize one crucial detail— the majority of our runs would be the dreaded triple-H of running: hot, humid and hilly. Slowly, we started to adjust runs from mid afternoon to dusk. After eventually adapting to the weather (or escaping it, rather), we came across our second roadblock:

How could we make the most of our dual memberships?

Unfortunately, the only way around this was to push through 2-a-days to get our money’s worth. We felt like wannabe UFC fighters, minus the fighting. Luckily, yoga kept our muscles loose while climbing provided the strength to work through it.


Tip: Charity Miles is a great way to raise a bit of money while you run


Challenging doesn’t even begin to do it any justice. Some nights we had to run in the rain up and down the driveway just to stay safe off the roads with no sidewalks. Other times, we were forced to run less than 12 hours spaced between them. Did we ever feel like giving up? All the time. Did I ever scheme to ride in a car at 5 miles per hour to cheat our way out of a session by tricking GPS? No comment. No matter what, we stuck with it. And to our surprise, we were rewarded with a few PRs along the way.

Eventually it became a healthy routine addiction and a welcome distraction from the grind of productivity. It was our time to purge our thoughts and zen out in this special place. We loved it so much that 30 for 30 turned into Hawaii 5-0!

Why? Soon after finishing our 30 days, we unfortunately had to return the car that our uncle so generously loaned us. This was the perfect excuse to earn our eats by running to restaurants and walking off the food on our way back home.

It’s tempting to keep the streak going but I think it’s time for a new challenge. Muscle confusion at it’s finest.

Have you ever done a daily running challenge, running streak or any other test of will? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

Daily Running Challenge
Screenshot of my Charity Miles app showing a 50 day running streak








Updated Online Portfolio And New Blog!

It has been a long time since I’ve updated my online portfolio. Last I checked, it has managed to go unchanged for a solid 7 years. When you work fifty plus hours a week, commute more than 2 hours a day, and still reserve time to keep your physical health in check, it’s really hard to squeeze more activities into your day — no matter how interested you are. Physically, it’s just too taxing.

Online Portfolio (2009)
Screenshot of old online portfolio, 2009

Drawing fellow commuters — something I’ve always loved to do since the ferry days of Staten Island — became a hassle. Public transportation was no longer my source of inspiration, but simply a time to catch up on sleep. It would be all too easy to pin it on my job as a photo retoucher (or any number of interests that I’ve allowed to distract me). But when I look long and hard at what has been hampering my personal art, I cannot look any further than myself to blame.

With very little left in the tank, showcasing my work became more of a pipe dream, with no realistic strategy in sight. A solo show here and a group show there is just not enough when they are spaced years apart. Everyone always says, “Do it while you’re young.” And then when you get old, it becomes, “It’s never too late.” “You’ll understand when you’re older,” is particularly useful for when you cannot impart wisdom regarding the transition. As for me? I like to subscribe to “It will happen when the time’s right.”

Turtle Bay, Wanderlust Oahu 2016
Turtle Bay, Wanderlust Oahu 2016
Shaka, Wanderlust Oahu 2016
Shaka, Wanderlust Oahu 2016

I was reminded of this during a speakeasy at Wanderlust Oahu 2016 this past February. Anthony Chavez asked the audience of his lecture, The Anatomy of Results, to quantify, by percentage, the three components of achieving success: intention (wish or goal), state (energetic and/or emotional), and action (i.e. if equally important, that would be 33.33% each). Most people, through their own personal experience, agree that action makes it happen. But actually, the crucial element is state. The action doesn’t change but is directly affected by how you show up to the task at hand.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

“If you are the big tree, we are the small axe.” – Bob Marley

This site is dedicated to my journey towards sharpening my axe so that I may one day cut down that proverbial big tree and carve my name into it.