Running to the Sea!

Oct 22, from Peratallada to Llafranc, a Costa Brava coastal city

I awoke in Peratallada bundled in one of the coziest beds I’ve ever slept in, with large pillows surrounding me. It was barely light outside and almost 8am but was chilly and cloudy out. I met our group for a very light breakfast (the fare varies quite a bit from each place we stay).

Our departure time was to be 9am because the forecast said rain would start around noon. No such luck; it started a little before we were packed up to leave. Pablo and his wife arrived to load our bags and he said “I think it’s a good time to have a coffee”. He wanted to wait till the rain lessened; it was coming down pretty hard. Three of our group are from England. They know rain. One said, “this isn’t going to stop any time soon, there is no wind to move it along”.

 

Pablo and his wife Cristina load up all our luggage each day and transport it to the next location while we run.

Pablo and his wife Cristina load up all our luggage each day and transport it to the next location while we run.

 

Under the covered patio area, we all ready ourselves to leave in the rain.  After over an hour of trying to wait it out, we were ready to just go!

Under the covered patio area, we all ready ourselves to leave in the rain. After over an hour of trying to wait it out, we were ready to just go!

Ok, so this type of trip – it requires patience and flexibility. I knew this, but its been a bit more than I anticipated, actually. The group dynamic is basically really great, but with 6 off us, there are lots of stops and starts during each run; there are varying priorities and concerns and preferences. There are different personality types and needs. But this rain actually seemed pretty acceptable to all of us. We realized it was going to happen at some point during the trip. We had all packed appropriate gear. Three were from the UK where it can rain for a whole month straight, and the other 3 of us are from Colorado where it can storm or snow at any time and we still go outside and do our thing because…well, because we are hard core! And because we love the outdoors and won’t usually let the weather dictate what we are or aren’t going to do.

But Pablo, being the diplomatic guide that he is, decided we should try to “wait it out”. Honestly I was over sitting and drinking coffee and chatting – we have done a lot of that already and would do more later today after the run. So I grabbed a book that I need to read for work (and am pitifully behind) and went to another room to read. A couple other people went back to their room to rest, maybe try to go back to bed.

It was pouring out.

About an hour later, we all reconvened in the lobby of the lodging. The rain was a bit lighter but showing no signs of stopping. Pablo hemmed and hawed a bit. I said “we are all willing to get started; this rain isnt a big deal”. Pablo’s adorable and helpful wife Cristina said “I think the problem is with you, Pablo; they want to get running!” That made me laugh. I think he needed that push from her to make the call that yes it’s ok to take his tour group out in the rain. We all quickly loaded our things and we drove to the trailhead. Even though it’s been said we are going to run from each location, today it seemed we should drive to get started to avoid more running in the rain. Whatever. I was so glad to get going!

Rain almost always seems worse when you are inside looking out at it, saying “wow, it’s really coming down!” Once we were outside, all geared up, it really wasn’t that bad; in fact it was kind of nice to run in! The trails were a bit muddy and slippery, but that made it even more adventuresome.

A good rain jacket makes all the difference!  Whit smiles upon arrival at the Mediterranean Sea

A good rain jacket makes all the difference! Whit smiles upon arrival at the Mediterranean Sea

 

Matt, Dom, and Whitney run along the beach at one section of today's route

Matt, Dom, and Whitney run along the beach at one section of today’s route

It was a great route; almost 100% trails and gorgeous. The Spanish landscape is lush and the trail systems are well-maintained and interesting with climbs, decents, a few flats, rocky sections, VERY rocky sections, some smooth single track, and a little beach running as well!

 

We had split into a few groups but everyone reconnected about halfway through today on a beach; from L ro R:  Matt, Paul, Dom, Pablo, Whitney, Sally, Chad

We had split into a few subgroups while running but everyone reconnected about halfway through today on a beach;                                      from L to R: Matt, Paul, Dom, Pablo, Whitney, Sally, Chad

 

Patience Challenge #2 today: Our group had split into two (we had GPS units to let us know what the route is, and for Pablo to track us in case we get lost), and Pablo was with my group. As we rounded a bend at one point, someone called out to him with a greeting. Pablo went to talk to that person (on the trail), and we knew he’d catch up to us. When he did, he told us we were going to stop at this man’s house for a drink; the man had invited us all in for a visit. Hmm. That’s nice, but after the delayed start, some other starts & stops during the run do to various runners’ needs, I really just wanted to keep running till we got to our destination and then we could explore the town and relax. But now we were convening in Pablo’s friend’s house “for a drink”. The man was very kind and generous, but I (nor most of my running buddies that were in this group) were wanting to drink a beer at that point. Two of them did, to be polite I’m sure, and we all sat around for about a half an hour introducing ourselves and chatting a bit. I’m sure you could be reading this thinking that I need to loosen up, but that’s ok; you can think that and perhaps it’s true. But I was trying to keep it together not to run down the beach and leave them all. I was actually the one who finally said to Pablo and his friend – thank you for this time but I wanted to get going. He was very responsive to that and later apologized to me that we had stopped. It really wasn’t a big deal, but I think Pablo felt caught between two things – our running group and this good friend of his whom apparently is very special to him; he’s been very influential in his life. I think Pablo wanted to share that with us and introduce us to him. Plus, in Spain there is a culture of hospitality and when one is invited in, one is supposed to accept the offer. I guess I was the Impatient American made the group move on. Ha!

 

We ran to the Mediterranean sea today! Our destination was Llafranc, a sweet little town by the sea, where many of the buildings are painted white. Our hotel was lovely; very attractive and accommodating. We walked around town a bit, went into a bar/cafe where the Barcelona/Valencia soccer game was on. That was fun because a bunch of locals were in there cheering for Barcelona who did win a close game (3 to 2). Then we walked to a grocery store and bought some delicious appetizer items. Back at the hotel, Sally and Chad and I sat on my balcony overlooking the ocean and visiting while eating, drinking, and listening to the waves crash against the beach: sooo lovely.

 

Gazing onto the ocean from a picturesque viewing spot just off the trail today

Gazing onto the ocean from a picturesque viewing spot just off the trail today

Dinner was in the hotel restaurant at 8pm and was delicious. The Brits and Americans had another rousing conversation full of interesting topics; one of the biggies tonight was guns. We really have covered a lot of conversation topics! These 3 guys from the UK, all in their mid-30s to 40, were really great. They were all well-educated, open-minded, interesting, respectful, and thoughtful. I very much enjoyed all our group conversations, and learned a lot from them! I was impressed with the questions they asked and even if they held a very different viewpoint they were so respectful and mostly inquisitive of our lives, wanting to learn. And I’d say vice versa as well. We were all having a great time getting to know new people from other places.

 

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