💥Trail Gangsta of the Month (APRIL '22) : Adam Foster Carlin of San Diego, CA💥

Name: Adam Foster Carlin

Age:  40

Hometown:  San Diego, CA

Current Residence: San Diego 

Occupation: Elementary School Principal / Lead Learner / Mistake Maker / Growth Specialist 

Adam is using his newfound passion for trail running to make an even greater impact in his community through his roles as Elementary school principal and cofounder of the “Father Figures Social Club.” 

Amidst the pandemic and filing for divorce, Adam dived headfirst into ultra running by completing the  4 x 4 x 48 challenge, logging a self supported 50k on the MIssion Trails, and most recently completing the Rim to Rim to Rim earlier this year! Read more about his story and learn how you can be a part of his organization.


1. How did you get into trail running?

 I am forever changed after finding my love for trail running in March of 2021.  Running was a quickly embraced activity after walking the local neighborhood streets and rucking the nearby trails throughout the seemingless endless days of Covid.  I needed an escape and a safe place to think and reflect; my wife and I filed for divorce the first week of January 2021 after over 11 years of marriage.  Our separation was long overdue and something we had agreed on months prior but no doubt the hardest shit I’ve ever had to navigate.  It was during those months my personal journey began.  

 David Goggin’s infamous 4x4x48 was my starting point and the beginning of “callusing” my mind.  A true mental and physical challenge that provided me the opportunity to wrestle with the physical discomforts and mental strains of running.  I ran streets, trails and on the beach, and after that weekend I knew I was a “runner” and that running was part of who I am. My long term love for the outdoors fused with my new found passion for running and - BOOM!  Trail running became my thing…my untapped energy source; the perfect recipe of adrenaline, gratitude, pain and freedom I so desperately needed to continue growing.


2. You’re a principal. What role does running play in your professional career? Are there any parallels between education and the sport of ultra running? 

 I try to connect with students, staff and community through many channels and running is one of them.  It was March of last year and we were having our “Terrapin Trot” event at our school.  This is an event which provides students an opportunity to run to raise money for the school and I decided to jump in and set a lofty goal for myself, 80 miles in 8 days.   

Throughout the week I created opportunities to run with students and families while highlighting that each and every student could achieve whatever they want through hard work and effort.  I also surprised the students by wearing a Forrest Gump costume for some laps around the track.

Running is all about effort,determination and grit and so is education and learning. I frequently hit on those parallels when supporting students and staff who are struggling.  


3. As a single dad to three kiddos, what advice would you give to single parents who still want to be able to train and race at a high level?

You can absolutely do it and you are capable of much more than you know.  Whatever it is you love and makes you happy, do it and more of it.  It’s definitely not “easy” and “convenient” but we threw those things out the window when we committed to being badass parents, so schedule time and commit to it.  

I’m a believer that everyone is different so you need to create a schedule that will work for you.  I’ve always been a morning person so committing the hours before my children wake up and before work were ideal.  It was a time that I could control, as long as I was committed to it.  The alarm clock started going off at 4:30am and I didn’t allow any excuse to prevent me from getting up and getting out.

The excuses will be there: the cold, the tired, the soreness, the desire for comfort coupled with the choice to keep going or to take days off. Stick with it until the practice becomes ingrained in habit and is just who you are.


4. Can you tell us about the “Father Figures Social Club” and your role with the organization? 

FFSC is a passion project that a great friend, Chris Woods, and I started as we committed to changing our lives to be healthier and more “able” as we matured into our 40’s.  Father Figures exists to build community and encourage growth and progress, both personal and athletic, among dads and other males who believe the best years are ahead of us!

For most males, parenthood means less sleep, more work and stress, a get-by diet, and less "free" time, leading to dad bods, alcoholism, and overall loss of self.  Together, Chris and I decided to lead the charge in turning those dad bods into father figures.  We  changed a few key habits, took control of our addictions, and set forth to be positive influences in eachothers lives as well as many more. As fun as the wordplay is, better health and fitness has led this club to becoming better men, better fathers, and even more stoked about life.

Are you looking to push yourself a bit more in 2022 than you did in 2021? Do you enjoy the outdoors, hiking, running, rucking, cross fit or any other types of workouts? Are you looking for a positive network to push your growth? Then welcome to Father Figures Social Club! Learn more here: @father_figures_social_club


5. You recently ran Rim to Rim to Rim. What part of the run were you ready for? Which part weren’t you prepared for?

I was kind of prepared…except as I approached the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for the first time; on the evening just before this adventure was to begin, my stomach sank when I realized we would be running on ice, slush, and mud along with the long hard miles which make up the canyon floor.  I never once thought there could be snow or ice as I was coming out from San Diego, and there was about 15 minutes of internal panic of which I tried not to show any of it to my friends.

After taking some pictures and getting after some InstaLive we headed to the gift store nearby and I spent the best 30$ of my life on my first set of microspikes.  Those spikes saved my life and the icy/slushy conditions were the part of the run I was nowhere close to prepared for.  

I felt great with the challenges involved throughout the rest of the day.  I focused on staying hydrated and the mileage and elevation came and went.  The extreme highs of trail running and the energy of the Canyon fed my spirit along the journey and I can’t wait to get after it again.


 6. What are your upcoming races/adventures in 2022? 

  • Billy Goat Trail Adventure 25K - April
  • PCT 50M in May
  • Support and Pace at Bryce Canyon 100M - May
  • Section A PCT - June/July
  • Mt. Laguna Marathon - November
  • Catalina 50M - January 2023

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