Thursday, October 2, 2014

Track and Field, Japan Style

 So, my undesired training began on Thursday. My first erroneous thought entered my mind as I saw the jolly students slowly jogging around the track. How hard can this be? Famous last words.

I'm not worried!
Before I continue, a little background information might be helpful for my readers. Because many students were absent yesterday for sport tournaments, there was no school lunch served for two days in a row meaning teachers needed to bring their own. I sheepishly asked the vice principal if I could order Indian food and he not only vehemently obliged but decided to join me and asked if any other teachers wanted to. So, three of us ordered Indian and it was, as usual, delicious. I ordered the highest spice level and the teachers all found it very impressive. So, I got a wee bit cocky about my ability to handle spice the next day when even more teachers and I decided to order from the same place. I boasted that I could eat way spicier than their spiciest spice level and asked the ordering teacher to request the non-existent spice level 7. The teachers all gasped. When it arrived, it was tasty but just a little over the top. However, everyone was impressed and I felt special. During track and field, that curry would turn out to be my worst enemy.


Not...spicy...at...alll
So immediately post chowing down curry, I began running with the kids. No time for any good ol' digestion. As we began our stretching, the kids could hardly contain their laughter. How funny was it that Miss Marisa had decided to participate in their club activity? Pretty freakin' funny, apparently. I started feeling a bit guilty for joining, like with me around they wouldn't get much done. After stretching, we did drills where we had to run a certain distance practicing various aspects of our form. Because of my lack of Japanese, the teacher in charge of the club forced the one boy with perfect English to join the girls' line so he could translate for me. I wanted to melt into a puddle of embarrassment for making the poor kid do that. He was clearly not happy. 

That English teacher... SO pathetic
Eventually he could tell that I was picking things up by watching and he asked desperately "can I please stop translating?" and I felt even more terrible, I told him, much to his relief, that he didn't need to at all. So, I survived all of the drills. Now it was time for the four kilometer run. 

Let me just say that I LOVE distance running. That's what I do. Just call me Forest Gump. Sorry, but I don't find sprints relaxing. I don't like panting and heaving to expend every ounce of my energy and then some to drag my exhausted self across the finish line. I prefer endurance; running great distances at a relaxing pace. So, when I found out that some of the kids run 4 kilometers in 15 minutes, a wave of panic washed across me. I became very thankful that the teacher placed me in the slowest group, which I was about to discover was significantly faster than me, still. The first four groups began, and it seemed like they finished before I could even start counting their 20 laps around the track. My adrenaline spiked. It was now my turn. As I began, I instantly felt winded by the pace of my group. Yet, I was determined to keep up. Then, my dreaded level 7 curry came back to haunt me in the form of killer stomach pain. Noooo! Not now, curry! 

I tried so hard to push through. I lost count of the laps, however, each becoming more painful than the last. Finally I was on the last lap. Or so I thought. I was still in sync with my group and even gaining speed. When I realized to my dismay that I still had two more laps to go, I spirits sank, I lost every care I once had about my form, and I fell behind the group. The second I stopped running, I collapsed on the ground, and thankfully my stomach pain vanished. I finished last, but I am still slightly proud that I ran 4 km in 21 minutes. I will probably never go back to track and field again unless I feel motivated to prove that I CAN run faster, it was just the curry. 




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