Russell Heights running


It is getting lighter earlier now. I know this intimately because I get up most days just after four am to run with different groups. To get up that early, some weeks it is a grind, other weeks a delight. But after a workout? That is a different story. All these years of running, 16 years in total, I still get that rush of endorphins after a good run. And I continue to learn about myself as I face new challenges.

This morning, I ran with a group called the Jam Dammers, which is the oldest running group in Kingston. They called themselves this because they originally started running at the Mona Reservoir, which is a 2.6 kilometre loop around a reservoir in a valley in the neighbourhood near the university.

Today, we ran up a one-mile hill called Russell Heights. This was the second time I did it. The first time, I felt intimidated, so much so that I was certain I could not accompany the rest of the group the three times they regularly run up this stretch of road. But I did it. Step by step, I made it up three times.

And that changed my perspective fundamentally about myself and my limitations. I was convinced this challenge was beyond my abilities and was envisioning telling the group to go on. But whenever I feel this way, this is a cue for me to try anyway, to prove myself wrong. And I did.

I found myself under the sky that was lightening from black to royal blue, under the stars and the crescent moon, completing the third run up this mile-long, steep hill. I found myself cresting the top of the hill, breathing in the unbelievably sweet air, perfumed by the flowers planted by the wealthy residents of this neighbourhood called Cherry Gardens. It seems even the pitbulls and German Shephards pacing behind the iron-gated homes were cheering me on with their vicious snarls and barks.

And this seemingly innocuous workout has shifted my perspective about myself. I told myself I had a certain limitation, that I could not accomplish something I wanted to. And I changed the reality I had expected. There is nothing like this feeling, coupled with those powerful chemicals that swirl around after a challenging workout, to shift one’s perspective. To make one believe that more is possible than you can perceive. I am grateful today.

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