Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Marathon Cancellation Upside

I think I found another good thing about the fact that the National Congress of the Communist Party of China will be meeting in Beijing in mid-October and thus, as announced a couple weeks ago, the Beijing Marathon will not proceed as originally scheduled.

There are a couple things I always do when I travel to somewhere unfamiliar (i.e., somewhere abroad that is not Western Europe).  I look at the weather, and I check the state department website for travel advisories (and for vaccination recommendations).

Well, for this trip, in looking at the weather, somehow I stumbled on some air quality readings.

For every single day I have looked at Beijing, the air quality alert has either been "unhealthy for sensitive groups" or "unhealthy."

Unhealthy for sensitive groups means "People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion."

Unhealthy means "People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion; everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion."

The best I've ever seen is moderate, and unfortunately I've seen a lot more "very unhealthy" than I have moderate.  Very unhealty means "People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion." 

Thankfully, I have not ever seen "hazardous" which means "Everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors; people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low."  Maybe if I'd been checking over the summer...

Interestingly enough, what I looked at (showing mostly unhealthy or unhealthy for sensitive groups) were the readings from the US Embassy in Beijing -- the readings from the Ministry of Environmental Protection the People's Republic of China consistently show good (which I equate with the US readings of good or maybe even moderate).  Sometimes I wish I would magically become completely fluent in Chinese in the next week so that I could pick up on all kinds of information spin like this while we're there.  We already discussed that it would be particularly interesting if we were able to see US election coverage there.

Anyway, based on that air quality info, and since I have asthma and hubby has some heart issues, I suppose it's best that I not run the marathon in that air, and he not run the 10k or half-marathon (he hadn't committed to doing either, but I was planning on convincing him to do one of those races).

So there, I have found another bright side.  I'll add it to the list:

No permanent lung damage from prolonged and heavy exertion in unhealthy air.
No sore legs to limit Great Wall hiking.
More time to see Beijing as a tourist.
No packing running clothes or gu.
No worrying about race morning logistics.
I can drink and eat whatever I want on hubby's birthday instead of worrying about a morning race.

Does that counter-balance the negatives?

I trained my ass of to run this marathon.
I will not be able to effectively train for another marathon while I'm there.
We spent thousands of dollars and all my vacation days to plan this trip around this marathon.


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