Day 335 - Devon

Day 335 - Devon (2nd person I approached)
December 01, 2014 - Thirty one days in December. Three hundred and sixty five days in 2014. Thousands of people following along. Hours of time spent in good company. Days spent looking at this screen. 318,187 words. So far. So close. So much gratitude.


I was walking past Devon as she sat with a text book in front of her. Out of the corner of my eye, it looked like her head was bobbing around a little bit. I wondered for a quick moment if she was in distress, and I asked if she was alright.

“Yeah, I’m just tired,” she said with a smile. I told her about my project and said I’d be willing to distract her if she would chat with me. She didn’t have much time, but said that we could chat for a little bit. She closed her book, and I sat down across from her.


Devon is a Vancouverite, born and raised.

“I was born at Grace Hospital (now Children's & Women's Health Centre Of British Columbia),” she said.

“I have one brother, he’s four years older than I am. He was always really good with me when we were growing up. What eight year old doesn’t want to hang around with their twelve year old brother and his friends. I was definitely the annoying little sister, but he was always good about it. We got along,” she told me, smiling.


“My father was born in New York, and my mother was born in Kamloops, BC (British Columbia), of Japanese descent. My grandparents lived in Kamloops during the second world war. They had their property taken away from them. And their house. But they did much better than many Japanese immigrants who faced internment at that time. Their house and land was taken from them, but they were immediately given another house and land. It was like a swap, although the land wasn’t as good as that which they lost. But it could have been much worse,” she said. 


“I went to the one school for all of elementary. It didn’t seem unusual to me because that’s all I knew. But I was aware that there were other kids who were leaving the school, or new to the school. I had a small core group of friends. We all went through elementary school together. We thought the kids who left or moved around were the odd ones. Looking back, maybe we were the odd ones who didn’t ever move,” she pondered.

“I did okay in school. I was heavily involved in sports, and that was my focus. It wasn’t necessarily sports related to school. I started swimming at a young age, and then in high-school, I was playing water polo. I played on the national youth water polo team, but didn’t pursue it further than that. And track and field. Running, I loved running,” said Devon. I asked if she felt she had to maintain a certain grade level to continue with sports while in school.

“Well I didn’t. So no, no I didn’t. Maybe that’s why I didn’t go further with water polo,” she said with a hearty laugh.

“Perhaps I should have worked harder. I certainly could have. I did what I had to do.”


After graduating from high-school, Devon went to Langara College (Vancouver) to study Human Kinetics.

“It was hard to get into kinetics. It was either wait to get into university, or go to college and get started. I went there for a year, before transferring to UBC (University of British Columbia). My time in college counted as a credit, so I started in second year kinetics when I went to UBC,” she said. In her third year of studying, Devon got a job at a gym as a personal trainer.

“The company had their own training program for the staff and then I started to train clients. I did that for the last two years of my time at UBC,” she said. After graduating with her Bachelor of Human Kinetics degree, Devon worked at the gym as a Personal Trainer, full-time for another year.


“I wanted a change, and I went to work for another company. I spent four years working there. It’s very satisfying meeting people and helping them to achieve their goals and to see their progress. I’ve always wanted to have my own fitness centre. To oversee everything and put my personal stamp on it all,” she said. After four years working at the second gym, Devon ventured out on her own.

“I have my own clients and we work out of a private facility. Some places charge the trainer on a per-client basis, and some charge a monthly fee to take your clients to their facility. It varies, depending on the place,” she told me.

“The real difference I notice is the operational costs, of equipment and supplies. When you work in a gym, you can always ask the boss to buy that new piece of equipment or the supplies that you want to try. It’s different when you have to buy it yourself. And the team that's behind you when you work with a group. I'm an extrovert and I like meeting people and getting to know them. Having people you see at work everyday. That took a while to adjust to,” said Devon.


In her spare time, Devon is a trail runner. I asked if she was hard core. We had an amusing little back and forth about the definition of ‘hard core.’ I have a friend who trail runs somedays from dawn to dusk.

“No,” she said shaking her head, laughing.

“That’s why I said define hard core. There are a lot of people who do that. I’m not one of them. I run maybe about twenty kilometres at a time. That’s my sweet spot. A couple of times a week,” she told me. 


I looked at the book that Devon had been reading 'The Science of Running,' by Steve Magness, and I assumed it was a text book. I asked if she was either back at school, or taking a course.

“No. I’m just reading it. It’s sort of work related of course, but I’m reading it out of interest. I like running.” Can’t judge a book by the reader. #notastranger

*Fact Check - The Science of Running -