I like running because it’s a simple activity. You do not need much to run. All you need are some good sneakers and comfortable clothes. But if you are like me, comfortable clothes are not even a requirement. I run in jeans and shirts that are not meant for exercise.
One day, while stretching after a brief run, the sister of my former roommate saw me and laughed. “Did you just work out in that?” she asked. I was wearing my usual attire. “That seems pretty uncomfortable.” Embarrassed, I answered, “I know. I need a whole gear.” I smiled, stopped stretching, and left the gym as fast as I could. Of course I didn’t think I needed a whole gear. I find it more convenient to run in jeans because I could avoid all the changing and to avoid the dreaded locker room that I hated so much in high school. Besides, I’m in a constant state of business so much so that changing and then changing again would be a waste of precious time.
I felt compelled to leave the track when my roommate’s sister and her friend came because I enjoy running alone because another reason I like running is that it is a solo sport. Among a list of my favorite activities, running may not make it to the top five. It can never beat tennis, my all time favorite sport. But it’s fair to say that I like to run.
But as much as I like to run, I am afraid of heights. It so happens that the track where I go to run is located on the second floor. The track is circular and gated; the middle of it opens down to the gym where the basketball courts are. There are about three basket ball courts down below. The three sections of the gym are separated by heavy cloth-like materials. There are various activities that go on in the various sections. One section may be used for cricket, another for soft-ball practice, and another for basketball. One day while two guys were playing cricket, the ball kept being thrown from down below, landing on the track.
On a usual day, while running, I stay away from the gated edge, running as close as I can to the wall in constant fear that I may die by some freak accident. As I run I worry about running into one of the metal columns next to the inner walls of the track and getting a big bump on my forehead. I worry about somehow tripping and falling down to the bottom floor in some freakish way. When the guys were playing cricket down below, my fears escalated. What if the ball launches in my face, or I step on it, trip, fall over the gate and then to the bottom of the gym and die?
I know that the probability of dying are highly unlikely, but somehow plausible. But I don’t have time to let the fear of death stop me from doing something I like to do. So each day, I go to the track and say my prayers as I run, staying as far away from the edge as possible.