Talking to a running dad on Father’s Day

‘Becoming a father changes your life forever.”

This is a blog profile of a runner who has adapted to runningdad life like I wish I had.

I chatted with and profiled Devin a few years back for Canadian Running magazine and thought he was an amazing trail runner and he had some amazing trail run photos! I became a dad about the same time as he did…be I think he has adjusted much better than I. This is Devin.

Devin Featherstone
A runner profiled back in 2015, life has changed for the Calgary fireman and trail runner. He is now a dad.

Devin grew up playing hockey and only started really running when he joined the Calgary fire department. He began running and got into trail running and lots of it. Devin went from 5ks to 100milers.

Devin: “I love the drive, mental focus and the sufferfest of running very technical trails. I have race races all over Alberta, British Columbia, Oregon, Hawaii and Hong Kong. It is a way for me to see the landscapes in a different way. Hawaii was HURT 100 miler and my wife was 35 weeks pregnant crewing me, she then had out beautiful boy Kai 2 weeks later when we arrived home. It has changed our lives for the better and couldnt imagine a day without him. He has pushed us to explore and show him a crazy life all in his first year. Kai was at the finish line in Hong Kong in October to give me a smile and a big kiss.”

Races Devin has run
Squamish 50 -50
HURT 100 Miler – Top 10 finish
Lost Souls 100km – Two time winner
Gorge Falls 100km
Lantau 70km
Iron Legs 50 miler
Carlgary Marathon – 4th overall, 9th overall
MEC Half marathon with a stroller 1:22 hr\min 2nd place overall
Sinister 7

What was the hardest part for you – transitioning to running dad life?

“The biggest thing was the upper body that you think you have but when you push a stroller around you really realize that all those tiny muscles that you usually don’t use are being used nonstop. Even your hands holding onto the bar to steer takes its toll and you need to switch. I was a learning curve for sure but one that you need to take baby steps. I think my first run with the stroller was when my son was napping, it ended up being about 24km because I had to keep moving for him to sleep. That was by far the hardest part was once I started I had to go until he woke up but as we did it more often it became easier to know when you could stop or routes you could pick to make it fun for you and him.”

What have you enjoyed the most about being a dad?

“The thing I love about being a dad is all the time off from my job as a fire fighter. It allows me to spend so much time with Kai and really see every little thing he goes through. The funny phases like loving sunglasses or birds. It truly melts my heart to think of a day without him. Kai didn’t slow me down he has kept me going. Keeping me running and exploring in the mountains. It is an opportunity where I get to do it with him and show him the kind of life his father loves. To me that is the best part of being a dad and capturing those moments through photos.”

How has your running and life changed after becoming a running dad?

“Life has changed, as it would with anyone. You now have a human that depends on you. It can be scary to most. I use to be able to get up and go to the mountains to run all the time or run whenever I want. It has changed to the point where you have to plan a lot better. You have to be able to do what is best for them. I have planned runs where I have had to cancel them and run on the treadmill later. Trail running is my true love but having Kai has made me appreciate having a treadmill. I will run on a treadmill so he can have a better nap or stay warmer inside. I still get to the mountains once a week but to me its okay and wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

What advice would you give another dad to be (who runs) about what to expect when the little one arrives?

“I would give the advice to not listen to the people who will tell you YOU WONT BE ABLE TO DO THAT! I had that a lot and it was my goal to prove them wrong and I think I have done a damn good job of it. If you are passionate about running you will do it. Run with a stroller ease into it, dress the kids accordingly and pack food and things to make life easier. Know you might have to cut your run short if a meltdown happens. If you want to keep running you might need to run a 5am before work or the kid is up, you might need to sacrifice and run on a treadmill which is called the dreadmill to me. My biggest advice is don’t make excuses to not do it, because you can do anything. I prove it daily from running, hiking, biking, ski touring, cross country skiing, snow shoeing with Kai and you can too.”

Devin you inspire this running dad. Run on my friend.

You can catch Devin on Instagram @dfeatherstone or on his blog, Tiny Big Adventure.

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