No, I'm not referring to the latest movie release featuring the lovely and talented Kirsten Dunst; it's just a silly pun (principally for the benefit of my friend JES, who has a weakness for this kind of frivolity). I have previously used an even better - or worse - variation on this theme. So, this is all I could come up with on this occasion - sorry.
What I wish to say is that I have - once again - found myself forced to abandon a cherished plan in relation to my running: I fear I will not now be taking part in the Xiamen Marathon at the beginning of January - something I have been gearing myself up for since the summer.
My impulsive decision to take part in an 'ultra-marathon' event in Guizhou last month (three races on successive days, totalling nearly 105km) overtaxed my aging and still not-terribly-fit body, and has fatally disrupted my training schedule. I picked up so many bothersome aches and strains from that, most notably a nasty inflammation of the Achilles tendon in my left heel, that I've been forced to rest for the three weeks since. Heavy pollution and/or extreme cold weather in Beijing recently have made it pretty much impossible for me to run outside anyway, even if I had been healthy. So, I'm not in any kind of shape to attempt another marathon within the next month; and, if the weather here continues to be this severe, my fitness is likely to decline even further, rather than improve. Rats!
However, I can perhaps take some consolation from my recent discovery that this Xiamen event is one of the biggest races in China - with a field this year of perhaps as many as 70,000 or 80,000 runners. That's CRAZY - twice as many as Beijing, which is already plenty overcrowded enough to be a total pain-in-the-arse. I had thought it was a relatively small race. I do not like crowds. With that many competitors, the organization is certainly going to be chaotic (I wouldn't trust them to have a reliable system for checking in race-day bags with food and warm clothes to pick up at the finish line, for example). And you'll be spending probably the first hour at least fighting your way through the mob, elbowing slow-moving runners aside to try to find some clear road. It will be a complete bloody nightmare. I am happier giving that a miss, thank you.
I'm still quite tempted to head down there for a holiday, though - and maybe run some of the course on my own at another time.