Sarah Groff Documents Training From Banyoles, Spain

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  • Published Aug 21, 2013
  • Updated Aug 22, 2013 at 9:02 PM UTC
Photo: Aaron Hersh

American ITU star Sarah Groff is sharing a journal from her training base in Banyoles, Spain.

Greetings from Banyoles, Spain! For the next couple of months, this sunbaked Catalan town will serve as my training base and my second home.

If you’ve ever been to Spain, you’ve likely encountered the feeling that everything operates on “Spanish time.” Shops and restaurants have baffling hours — they don’t open until late, and the world screeches to a halt between 2 and 4:30 p.m. The midafternoon lunch and siesta mean that afternoon shop hours are conveniently late, but dinner isn’t served until my usual bedtime.

Transactions here frequently take place at a snail’s pace. The grannies who go to the store to buy embotits (cured meats) ask a litany of questions about every single purchase they may or may not make. This is a culture that values human interaction and getting to know one another. There is no place for the brisk efficiency that rules in the Northeast. The pace here practically requires that everyone take a midday break to regroup.

While slowing down to Spanish time has occasionally baffled my New England sensibilities, it has definitely made me keenly aware of the value of patience. If I wanted the pace here to reflect what’s familiar to me, I’d be antsy and frustrated all the time. By slowing down, I’m able to appreciate things I might have missed in my self-absorption and impatience. Instead of adhering to my own schedule, I’m expanding my world to fit in with what works here, including exchanging jokes with the cheesemonger and picking up occasional words of Catalan.

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