This place is a dump.  I hate it.

I left Monaco for Antwerp for Jesse’s Professional Triathlete debut, and instead of us returning to altitude in beautiful Font Romeau, (as was the original plan,) I had this bright idea to stay near Barcelona so we could watch the European Championships.

Actually it was Nick Symmonds bright idea, and it sounded great two weeks ago…he, Maggie, Jesse, and I bumming around Barcelona, eating tapas and running loops around Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.  Problem is, we aren’t staying in Barcelona.  We are in Sant Cugat.

There is nothing actually wrong with Sant Cugat proper; its a cute Spanish city with plazas and old buildings, etc.  But we are in this industrial complex with absolutely no place to run.  I don’t mean “Oh me oh my!  We have to run on concrete near buildings!”  I mean, we have to run straight up or straight down insanely hilly single lane roads with no sidewalks and roundabouts (weed holes) leading to absolutely nowhere.

Rowland warned me, but it was lost in translation.  He said, “Are you sure you want to go there?  Its good because its outside the chaos of the city yet its a straight 20 min train in, but there is nothing there.”  I thought he meant there was “nothing there” as in “nothing fun to do there.”  But now I know he was speaking literally.

And I’m probably especially cranky because we got eaten alive by mosquitos in Antwerp (Jesse literally has 64 bites, we counted them just now,) and the oppressive heat of Sant Cugat made them itch like crazy as soon as we arrived last night.  Our room was right next to the elevator, filling our first night with melodic noisy chimes.

Even after spending three hours searching for a place to run nearby, I still ended up on a crazy hilly mountain of sidewalk-less roads.

Apparently Paula Radcliffe has trained here.  Its funny because when I heard that a few weeks ago, I was like “Sweet! If Paula has trained there, its been fully audited and its got to be good.”  And until this trip, you could have told me to wear my knickers on my head because Paula did it, and I’d slap ’em on in two tics.  Well, you won’t get me with that line again.

At least we got to see Thommo win the silver medal at the European Championships tonight in the 10k (Go OTC Elite!) That made it all worth it.

I need to make some decisions here.  I have a hard track workout tomorrow, and Coach Sam is going to administer it for me since Rowls is at the Euro Champs all day tomorrow.  But after that, I am tempted to get in the car and drive back to Font Romeu.  I just don’t have the patience to start from scratch in a new place again.  Its so damn frustrating.  Every single run will involve hours of internet searching, planning, and then eventually 23 U-Turns when the trails don’t pan out the way they were supposed to.  I just want to run a loop I’ve done a million times and go on auto-pilot.  I want to be cruising along thinking about how I want to do my hair tonight and accidentally realize I’m five minutes from done.

But if I stay, every day will get a little better as the five of us learn the city and share information.  I’ll get to explore Barcelona, which is a place I’ve been obsessed with since I took high school spanish with Señor Ed.  I’ll switch hotel rooms to get away from the elevator once something opens up, and I’ll probably find things that aren’t completely sucky about this place.  But that takes effort, and my reserves are drained.