Tag Archives: Runyon Canyon

#44 – Vacation in Hawaii

I don’t vacation.

Since I started my career at 18 years old I have only been on one vacation, a cruise to Cabo San Lucas with my family when I was 21 years old and working at the Los Angeles Times.

Clearly "Elation" in the background depicts my mood from that cruise back in 2008. I had fun on that cruise, but in reality I didn't have many real life stresses at 22 years old, so a vacation this time around was much more needed.

Clearly “Elation” in the background depicts my mood from that cruise back in 2008. I had fun on that cruise, but in reality I didn’t have many real life stresses at 22 years old, so a vacation this time around was much more needed.

I didn’t think I would vacation ever again, until my girlfriend Zoe told me I had to go to Hawaii with her. I got back last week.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but there are a few reasons why I don’t vacation. The first being that from ages 18 to 25 I was fairly broke trying to establish my career. All the money I did make during that time typically was re-invested into my career. When I did have extra spending money during that time I typically went to Las Vegas or other party cities where relaxing really isn’t what you go for.

And from 26 to 30 years old I have worked non-stop on shows. During this time of my life I got plenty of invites to go on fun trips, but my work schedule never allowed it.

The other thing is that during this time I also got to visit some pretty cool places because the TV shows I worked on would pay for me to travel, and most of the time I got to go with friends since I typically work with people I hang out with.

Traveling for work has allowed me to see some pretty cool places like the French Quarter in New Orleans on Halloween in 2014.

Traveling for work has allowed me to see some pretty cool places like the French Quarter in New Orleans on Halloween in 2014.

Zoe was planning a trip to Hawaii around the week of March 12, because her best friend Susan was getting married and Zoe was named the Maid of Honor. She had known this date months in advance, but with my schedule I can never plan that far in advance, so I told her to plan on going without me. I know, I’m a really thoughtful boyfriend.

As the date got closer, I still told her I didn’t think I should go, because I was in the midst of looking for my next show, and I didn’t think I’d be able to enjoy a vacation without knowing if I had a gig locked in. Nor did I think it would be smart to spend money on a vacation when I don’t have a gig waiting for me upon my return.

I think she recognized that I would never allow myself to go, so she bought me a plane ticket and said I was going with her. I don’t always make the best choices, but I certainly did when I decided to start dating her.

She left two days before me so she could help put some finishing touches on the wedding plans. When I began to pack my suitcase I made the conscious decision not to bring my laptop. It was the first time I’ve ever left town without it. I would’ve left my phone too if it wasn’t for my need to depict how dope my life is perceived to be on Instagram.

As soon as she picked me up from the airport in Honolulu, I was glad she bought me a ticket. I have been stressed out, and when you’re in the midst of stress you don’t realize just how worn down you are until you power down. For me, that was on the six-hour flight from LAX to HA. I downloaded a bunch of podcasts from Marc Maron and Barry Katz, and the only thing I remember from their conversations was the first two minutes before I passed out each time I selected a new episode. Most people dislike the time spent on an airplane, but I enjoy it because it’s the one time no one in my life can bother me for something they need, especially when it’s on a flight with a company like Hawaiian Airlines, which doesn’t provide Internet access.

Susan and her husband Justin live in Hawaii already, so it was much easier for them to plan a Hawaii wedding. They decided to rent out this giant compound called Hale Koa Phineas Estates for the festivities. The compound has two giant houses on it with a basketball court, tennis court, pool, hot tub, and lots of beautiful landscape. It’s right on the beach in North Shore, and as we pulled into the estate I was even happier that Zoe made me go.

The compound sleeps over 40 people, that’s how many bedrooms and beds there are. The first night was a very big party until the wee hours in the morning. The following Friday morning Susan took a bunch of us on a hike up the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, which halfway up to the top leads to a hike down a different side of the mountain to the Makapu’u Tidepools.

This is nearly at the point where we started our hike down the side of the cliff.

This is nearly at the point where we started our hike down the side of the cliff. That paved road is where we hiked up from. The path down the side of the cliff is definitely not as smooth.

I consider myself to have great physical stamina considering how many years I’ve been a runner and how much I hike Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles, but this hike down to the tidepools and back up afterward absolutely kicked my ass. I am writing this piece exactly one week after this hike, and I am still sore. Not even joking. This is 30.

The hike is literally straight down with loose dirt in some places and on the way back up you literally have to climb rocks. I am not afraid of heights, but it’s best not to look down at any point. I cut my hands a little bit going down the cliff, and once we got to the tidepools I jacked up my knees because I slipped several times on black slimy rocks while I was trying to take advantage of the photo opps for all the ladies. The hike back up made me question all my life choices. But the time spent in the surrounding water was an experience I will never forget.

No words can do this justice.

No words can do this justice.

The following Saturday was the actual wedding day, which meant I got to do whatever I wanted while Zoe and the bridesmaids got ready for showtime with Susan. What I chose to do was drink and watch TV after hitting the beach in the morning. I was too sore and had too many gashes in my feet for another adventure. I hung out with some of the other guys who weren’t in the wedding. We grabbed some seafood at a shrimp truck and went into town for some last minute clothes shopping for the wedding.

I could eat at shrimp shacks like this all day every day.

I could eat at shrimp shacks like this all day every day. This particular one has been featured on all those travel and food channel shows, so you know it was good.

The wedding was beautiful, and I was happy to be a guest of Susan and Justin. Even though I knew them for only a year I felt participatory in their experience since Zoe had me write their story of how they met for their wedding website, and I went along with Zoe to pick up Susan’s dress and also got into arguments with stores in the fashion district of Los Angeles who didn’t have the wedding reception napkins ready when they promised.

Here is the bride and groom.

Here is the bride and groom.

On Sunday morning Zoe and I woke up super early because we wanted to take advantage of our last day in Hawaii. We both didn’t know the next time we’d both have time for another vacation so we wanted to make the most of the final day. We left for Pearl Harbor at around 8am, because I like getting a little bit of historical perspective on places I visit.

Pearl Harbor offers three-hour tours, but if I learned anything from Gilligan's Island, it's best not to take a three hour tour.

Pearl Harbor offers three-hour tours, but if I learned anything from Gilligan’s Island, it’s best not to take a three hour tour.

From there we went to the beach on Waimanalo Bay, which is a pretty secluded beach.

I snapped some sexy shots of Zoe on this beach for her, but this one of her peeing in the ocean was for me...I don't know why she puts up with me.

I snapped some sexy shots of Zoe on this beach for her, but this one of her peeing in the ocean was for me…I don’t know why she puts up with me.

After a few hours there we went to Waikiki and then on to a location called China Walls to watch the sunset.

Hawaii provides its own filter.

Hawaii provides its own filter.

Spending so much time on the North Shore was certainly an experience. When you decide to stay in that area it’s a solid hour to get to anywhere that resembles civilization. I think I did a great job of disconnecting from social media and the rest of my life. Of course that didn’t go without a hitch though.

I am considering a career move to North Shore to become an Instagram Model.

I am considering a career move to North Shore to become an Instagram Model.

I had to take one business phone call on a job that I didn’t feel was a right fit for me, and I did submit my resume one time for a job that I really wanted, but other than those two occurrences I didn’t think once about my career or comedy. It felt great not to feel obligated to make an appearance somewhere for the good of my career. It felt good to take a breather. It felt good to not have any worries. I thought I would be very uncomfortable, because I don’t vacation and my mind runs on overdrive, but I had the time of my life.

The happiness in this picture sums up the whole trip.

The happiness in this picture sums up the whole trip.

This blog has really just been my 21st century version of showing you a slideshow of my Hawaiian vacation. Tune in nine years from now when I go on my next vacation.

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#25 – Hike Runyon Canyon

I have a bit of an addictive personality. I don’t know if that’s indicative in my posts, but it’s true. When I weighed 300 pounds I was clearly addicted to food. Now that I am 149 pounds it’s clear that I am addicted to exercise.

Since November 2010 I have run 15-25 miles per week depending on my free time. In that time I have lost 40 pounds. Mind you, that has been on flat ground. Two Friday’s ago, my buddy Trevor invited me to Runyon Canyon.

I’ve heard numerous things about Runyon, whether it has been through friends who live near it or through cinema like “Funny People.” It has always intrigued me, but I had never tackled the mountaintop.

Trevor sent the invitation my way while I was in the middle of a 3 mile run. Despite the fact that I was mid-workout, I wasn’t about to deny the invitation since we needed to talk business, and why not kill two birds with one stone. Plus, Runyon intrigued me.

I met up with Trevor at his brother Tanner’s, on the Valley side of Runyon, and we went from there. Trevor made his first visit to Runyon two days prior so he served as our trail leader.

Before we entered the gated entrance to Runyon Trevor took off running. That is customary Trevor, since he tends to be one notch on the energy level above everyone else. Soon there after I took off after him, and Tanner followed suit. I couldn’t help but feel a bit out of sorts with hippies conducting yoga exercises and bunnies up for sale right next to the stretching granola & yogurt eaters.

Runyon is basically all up hill for the first mile, and it starts that way even before you reach the main entrance. I started with the same pace that I would generally start with in my flat ground running, and after about 25 seconds I felt a shooting pain in my legs and a shortness in breath. I immediately realized I was in way over my head. We had barely started, and my legs were already done. Trevor was owning the mountain while Tanner and I were strugg-a-ling.

I take pride in my endurance. I can run 5-8 miles on flat ground while barely breaking a sweat. It’s something that I have earned over the past year and a half. 25 seconds into Runyon Canyon and I was humbled.

Trevor kept shouting that we were near the “resting tree,” which is the first rest stop on the hard trail of Runyon. Tanner and I made it there shortly after Trevor, and we were greeted by others also grasping for breaths of air. My legs felt like they were made of Jello and my feet felt like they were running on hot coals.

Trevor carried a backpack with him, which housed our cell phones and water bottles. Upon initial visit I mocked him for carrying the glorified fanny pack, but I cherished his decision while I downed half of the 12 ounces in my water bottle during our first stop.

Before I could fully catch my breath, Trevor was off and running again. I wanted to remind him that I was hung over and that I had just finished running 3 miles, but he was out of shouting range, and I definitely didn’t have the necessary air in my lungs to reach his ears.

Tanner and I eventually reached Trevor again,  at the next rest stop, passing by hot chick after hot chick in tight spandex pants and sports bras. I’ve often heard that Runyon Canyon is the ultimate spot to hit on hot chicks, but what they fail to mention is that it’s hard to spit game when you’re hacking up your own lungs. That didn’t stop Trevor, however, who surely left his water mark on the mountain.

At that resting spot Tanner and I had a decision to make. Trevor informed us that we had two more large hills to climb before we reached the top of Runyon. Trevor took off running. Tanner and I took a couple of looks upwards and second guessed whether we could make it further. I said, “Fuck it” and took off. It took all of my will power to make it up the hill. I met up with Trevor, grabbed my water from his backpack, and we looked downward at Tanner who gave us the signal that he was done and was going to climb back down the hill. We enjoyed the view for thirty seconds and Trevor took off again. I looked forward and saw the final ascent of what laid in front of me.

The final hilltop shouldn’t even be called a trail. Sylvester Stallone should meet you at the base with a rope and a Sherpa to lead the rest of the path, because that’s some straight “Cliffhanger” type of shit. Trevor attacked that last uphill as if he were Spiderman. The funny thing about him is that if you put him on flat ground he can’t run a mile without taking some breaks. Put him on a mountaintop, however, and he’s a beast. My attempt up the last hill found the use of every piece of energy I had left. I could barely lift my legs off the ground. I felt like someone had shot me in my hamstrings. I was basically on all fours while gasping for my life. I wish I was exaggerating.

I eventually made it to the peak. I’m still not certain how I made it. I may have blacked out at one point. Trevor asked me if I wanted to venture back down the path we just up-scaled or if I wanted to take the longer path, which was all down hill. Seeing as how I nearly killed myself climbing up the hill I figured I would most definitely kill myself trying to descend the 45-degree angle.

I enjoyed the view of Los Angeles and couldn’t help but feel that I wasn’t actually in Los Angeles for just a moment. For someone like me who is not from the area, we always search for remnants of “home,” or really anywhere that doesn’t remind us of the smog of Los Angeles. Runyon Canyon reminded me of parts of San Diego like the La Jolla coves and the trails of Rancho Santa Fe. I quickly enjoyed the view and then took a cliché Runyon Canyon picture.

That is the look of pain and suffering.

After we walked about a half mile of the downward trail, and peeped some of the eye candy that Runyon has to offer in the form of ladies and luxury homes adorning the surrounding area we then took off running. I don’t think I had ever run faster. The combination of the downhill and my accumulated adrenaline allowed me to bypass any pain I was experiencing. I managed not to trip on my own two feet or on any of the unleashed dogs, and reached the finish line where we had originally started.

Trevor and I met back up with his brother and then went for sushi. I was immediately addicted and knew I had to hit the trail again, which Trevor and I did five days later. That time around I wasn’t hung over and didn’t run three miles prior to hitting the Canyon. Trevor, however, did have an intense Muay Thai workout the night prior and suffered through Runyon much like I did during my first venture. My dumb ass, however, figured my legs wouldn’t be nearly affected the next day, so I attempted my usual 3+ mile run, of which I suffered through during the final 2 miles.

Just like all the dogs at Runyon, Trevor is also dropping a deuce.

I will most definitely be tackling Runyon Canyon again. I will just remember not to run 3 miles immediately before or after I do so.

2nd time was much easier than the 1st.

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