but no, it was actually "enjoy running", and the kids were having a marathon run. enjoy enshmoy, those kids looked cold in their t-shirts and shorts. "it's DECEMBER, people! these kids are gonna get pneumonia!" i kept thinking. the first and second graders went first, and they ran off the school track and after about 10 minutes or so, they were back, and the third and fourth graders went. as we're waiting for them to come back, all the teachers are asking me, "won't you run with the fifth and sixth graders?" and for some reason, i decide, yeah, why the hell not, and i agree to run with them. maybe i was thinking the run wasn't that far, or it was the fact that at least i had long pants on instead of the kids' running shorts. whatever it was that possessed me, i stretched with the girls and when the start gun went off, i went.
turns out, we were running to the shrine and back. that's a 3km distance. and with teachers and parents lining the road most of the way, there was no copping out and walking. nope, it was running all the way, with cheers of "ganbare!" each time i passed a group of people.
now, i'm not a distance runner. i'm a great sprinter, don't get me wrong, and i can outdo those kids when they're trying to catch me at tag, no problem. but while i wasn't dead last to finish, i was just ahead of the group of stragglers at the end, even though i was giving it my best. as i finished, all the teachers were cheering and they all seemed genuinely surprised that i had done it, albeit very poorly. weren't you guys just encouraging me to do this, like, 10 minutes ago? why did you ask me if you didn't think i could do it?! oh well, guess i showed them that at least i'm not a quitter.
they took pictures of me as i came and finished, and while they are not the most flattering photos of me ever taken, the red face and messy hair proves i did it. and you know, it was kinda fun even. let it never be said i don't go the extra mile, er, kilometer for my students.