Thursday, January 31

Running, by the numbers

Data and running and charts about racing...
... these are a few of my favorite things!
(Sung as though this were The Sound of Music)

Key findings:

  • Either we're racing more, or there are more of us: Road racing finishers increased by 170% between 1991 and 2011 at a time when the U.S. population grew by only 20%.
  • Despite early sell-out (or maybe because of it?) the number of marathons in the U.S. more than doubled between 2000 and 2011.
  • There were more than 50,000 ultra-marathon finishers in 2011, but that still pales in comparison to the more than 500,000 marathon finishers.

The Running Boom

Thanks to the Running Moron for the link, and for the infographic.

Wednesday, January 30

Rants & Raves


We are running a race, not a fashion show.

Earlier this week I received an email from a running group. The email explained when, where, and how the group would meet up before an upcoming race. (Seems innocent enough, right?) The instructions:
arrive wearing your team jersey AND lipstick
(capitals included in the original.)

A similar pre-race email last year suggested that women should have a little respect and put on lipstick before a race.

My head nearly exploded.*

Don't get me wrong... I have no problem with whatever you want to wear to a race. I don't care if you run shirtless or in long sleeves and leggings. I don't care if you wear lipstick that matches your shoes or show up with bed-head. I don't care if you run in decades-old clothes, a hula skirt, an Elvis costume, or dressed as a fairy princess. (In fact, I sort of love running Elvii...)

And more power to you if you can find waterproof mascara that doesn't run faster than you do.

But don't you dare tell me (or anyone else) that I am doing something wrong by not wearing makeup on race morning.

I'm here to run. Not to preen.

As fellow runners, we should support one another in our athletic accomplishments, not belittle people for their appearance.

No amount of makeup covers bad manners or poor sportsmanship.

(*Time to un-subscribe from that running group! And in case you're wondering why I didn't un-subscribe earlier, I thought the first jab was just a joke. Clearly I was mistaken...)


Lest you think the rant, above, is anti-makeup... (It's not. It's anti-peer pressure and shaming.)
Image source

This week I'm raving about the new "strength" collection from MAC cosmetics. Specifically, I'm impressed by the non-traditional model they feature in their ads.
Image source

Bodybuilder Jelena Abbou flexes her muscles proudly in the campaign's iconic poster.
This advertisement is a refreshing break from the stereotypically slim model and Photoshop horrors.

Bravo, MAC!

So, tell me, what are you ranting or raving about this week?

Mascara wand image from LeCosmetique, graphic design edits made by yours truly.

Tuesday, January 29

Body image

Maybe it's the New Year effect. Maybe it's an over-abundance of thin-spiration blogs. Maybe it's the extra couple of pounds all humans put on during the cold months as a vestige of evolutionary survival techniques. Maybe it's a weariness with media culture.

Whatever the trigger, body image - particularly negative body image - has been a pervasive blog theme lately.

There was Charlotte's post (Wild things RUN free) about body image, and Balancing Jane's post about when a woman is real (or not), and Live, Love & Run's rant about diets and the "perfect" body. (Heck, even Nitmos wrote a whole post about how he feels fat right now.)

Many of us struggle with the balance between knowing what we can do (run, jump, lift, work, clean, cook, hike, read, learn, teach, write, think) and what we should look like when we're doing those things.

In case you feel like the only person alive who "doesn't look great" or "could stand to lose a few pounds," I have one word for you: Stop.

There is no perfect.

Even the people presented to us as "perfect" are not perfect. They struggle with the same (if not more insidious) issues of body image and the quest for "perfection."

Case in point... model Cameron Russell talks frankly about body image in a presentation for TED:

Concluding quote:
"If there's a takeaway from this talk, I hope it's that we all feel more comfortable acknowledging the power of image in our perceived successes and our perceived failures."
Watch and let me know what you think... I'm considering using this talk in a class about how we develop our sense of self, and what role media plays in that process.

Thoughts? Comments?

Monday, January 28

In search of the 5k PR (week 3 training)

The quest for the sub-24 5k continues...

Last week's plan / actual:
  • Monday: strength circuit + 5 mile tempo run / 5 mile tempo run (1 mile warmup at 9:00 pace, 2.5 miles at 7:45 pace, 1.5 mile cool down)

  • Tuesday: reverse ladder intervals (1600, 1200, 800, 400) / Pilates core work + ladder intervals.
    I decided to try a new track. The track distance: 1/5 mile (321.8 meters... not 400). Doh! My intervals distances were a bit off, but the workout was a success. Each interval is followed by a one lap recovery interval:
    • 1 mile warmup
    • 5 laps (1600 mtrs) at 8:06 pace
    • 4 laps (1287 mtrs) at 8:14 pace. Oops. Not exactly steady.
    • 3 laps (965 mtrs) at 8:00 pace. Better!
    • 1 lap (321.8 mtrs) at... wait for it... 6:48 pace!!! With this much gas left in the tank, I should've/could've done the other laps a bit faster. Live and learn...

  • Wednesday: yoga + foam rolling / 40 minute yoga workout (but sort of skipped the foam roller)

  • Thursday: 4-5 mile easy run / 2.5 miles. Um... yeah... I spent the day working, running errands, cleaning the house, and preparing for a dinner party. I ran for 22 minutes between errands and then whipped eggwhites by hand to bake a cake. (That has to count toward some calorie burn, right?)
  • Lemon olive oil cake
  • Friday: rest day / ... and I rested!
  • Late afternoon at Pensacola Beach

  • Saturday: 9 miles 6 miles + core workout / 6.4 miles + I planked and Russian-twisted my way through a core workout.
    About that plan change... I signed up for a race next weekend!
    Running 9 miles seemed like a poor choice the weekend before my first 5k of the season. I re-calculated accordingly.

  • Sunday: fun workout / Long, touristy walk around Fairhope, Alabama (postcard to follow)
  • Flowers on every street corner in Fairhope, AL

This week's plan:
  • Monday: strength circuit + 3 mile run (or 45 min on the stationary bike)
  • Tuesday: 3 mile run
  • Wednesday: yoga + foam-rolling
  • Thursday: 3 mile easy run
  • Friday: rest day
  • Saturday: 5k RACE DAY!
  • Sunday: recovery day

How often do you tinker with your training plan?

Are you a cook? A baker? A kitchen-avoider?

Morning motivation (run!)

Get out there and run.

Friday, January 25

Weekly roundup: Friday potluck

Welcome to another installment of the weekly roundup we all know and love: Friday potluck!

Faster than a speeding train
Image source
Perhaps there's a new endurance sport brewing? In "Man vs. Subway" Phillip Petit races a subway train from one stop to the next.

The question is: Does he win, or does the train win?

(For what it's worth, I once tested out-running my morning bus. The bus won for the first mile of my old commute, but once we got into the city and the bus stopped every block, I beat it by a long while... Run commuting for the win!)

Luxury accommodations?

If you're looking for privacy, this hotel is not for you. Situated in the middle of a public restroom, this single-room hotel might be more of a curious public art installation than a functioning hotel. (Really, do you want to sleep while strangers are farting behind a small partition in your bedroom?)
Public restroom hotel
Image source


This post about disconnecting for true downtime struck a chord with me. When I'm home or at the office, I find myself checking my multiple email accounts, text messages, facebook, twitter, etc... with alarming frequency.

Maybe that's why I leave my phone behind when I run...

Good advice

Mama always said that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

In posts reminiscent of my "Can't we all just get along" commentary, EMZ makes a strong case that people should stop hating on others and Melissa (Live, Love & Run) urges us to do our own thing.

Sweet rewards

For a dinner party last night I made lemon olive oil cake: 6 ingredients and one heck of an arm workout if you whip the egg whites by hand. Simple. Easy. Delicious.
Image source

Quote of the week:
"Without running, I would have missed the joy of rain. What could be considered an inconvenience or a bummer to the inexperienced is actually a gift. Without running, I would miss a lot of things—like seeing cities in a certain way, or knowing certain people all the way to the core. I'm glad we don't experience life through glass, under cover, or from the sidelines. Good things take miles."
Kristin Armstrong

Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, January 23

Rants & Raves


The things you see when you haven't got a baseball bat...

On Monday I was wrapping up a tempo run when I pack of hoodlums sped toward me in their car, blaring their horn. When they were close enough to make eye contact, the punk in the passenger seat threw the remnants of his lunch out the window at me.

I'm not even sure how to describe how pissed off I was. I was close enough to home to call the police soon after the incident, but the cops did not find the car. The kids will get away with their prank, fluffing themselves up with pride for terrorizing a defenseless woman.

I don't like to think of myself as defenseless.

But on that day, in that situation, no other word fits. What was I going to do?

Chase them down?

Even on my best day, I couldn't keep up with a car traveling at 35 miles per hour. And if I could catch the car, what then? Remember, I wasn't running with a baseball bat, and pepper spray is hardly effective against plate glass windows and steel. Even calling the police felt vaguely useless.

The feeling of frustration I have at not being able to retaliate or defend myself is, by far, the worst part of the whole incident. (Luckily I was not physically hurt by the flying debris -- just suffered a case of wounded pride and had my faith in my neighbors shaken.)

What I want to do is get the perpetrators cited for littering and harassment. (Or, let's be honest, find their car parked in a dark parking lot and smash out the headlights.)

What will happen is...

...absolutely nothing.

And that's what makes me furious.


After my misadventures on Monday, I needed a dose of relaxation. You know: good ol' fashioned brain candy.

A friend recommended the books in Deanna Raybourn's "Silent" mystery series featuring the character Lady Julia Gray.

Witty without requiring deep philosophical thought, Raybourn's historical murder mysteries are definite page-turners. I've been staying up way past my bedtime to read "just one more chapter." These books were the perfect antidote to my foul mood.

I started with Silent in the Grave and am working my way on to Silent in the Sanctuary.

Can't put 'em down.

(Speaking of which, it's time for me to stop blogging and go back to reading. Lady Julia Grey just got called back to London from her holiday in Italy... Must. Find. Out. What. Happens. Next.)

So, tell me, what are you ranting or raving about this week?
What book are you reading right now?

Tuesday, January 22

Postcards from Austin (arts, music, culture)

When we left our heroes on their travel adventure in Austin, they finished a run around Town Lake and enjoyed a wide variety of culinary adventures. They also got a healthy dose of arts and culture. Let's see where they went...

The capitol was an impressive architectural and historical site.
Capitol as seen from the rose garden
 As more than 260 feet from the rotunda floor, the capitol dome is vertigo-inducing.
Capitol dome
And the stairway to the top is a good workout...
Flights of stairs in the Capitol.
We went on a free tour of the Texas state capitol...
One of the capitol tour stops
 ... where we discovered, among other things, that nearly every fixture boasts either the lone star or the word "TEXAS."
Lone star logo.
After the capitol, we spent several hours at the the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Much like Texas itself, the museum is huge.

The exhibit on women's rights was particularly captivating. Unfortunately photography is not allowed in the museum, so I have no photos to share.

On the other side of the museum-size-spectrum, the tiny Old Bakery and Emporium, just south of the capitol, is a neat place to stop. Arts and crafts for sale on the lower level are all hand made by Austin seniors. Proceeds from the shop support senior programs.

The upper level showcases a brief history of Austin.
Old Bakery
No trip to Austin would be complete without music.

We hung out at Maggie Mae's...
Maggie Mae's
... and had cocktails at The Firehouse Lounge during a jam session. The "lounge" is really a cozy little music space in a hostel. The drinks were good. The music was good. I'd recommend a visit.
Firehouse Lounge
Austin's quirky culture is a definite highlight of any visit. On New Year's Eve, locals gathered to give out free hugs.

The city also has a thriving art scene. We stumbled upon a shop dedicated to lomography, which was described to us as an analog photography movement.
Huge wall mosaic of staff photos
Speaking of art... Austin seems to be the bronze sculpture capital of Texas. There are dozens of statues and monuments on the grounds around the Capitol. There are sculptures depicting pioneer history...
Tejano history sculpture at the Capitol
...and glorifying cowboy life.
Texas Cowboy
The city also acknowledges its musical history with statues of Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Stevie Ray Vaughan
But my favorite statue was an unexpected discovery on 6th Ave.

The bronze of Angelina Eberly commemorates Eberly's successful bid to maintain Austin as the capital of Texas when then-governor Sam Houston attempted to move the seat of government to Houston.
Angelina Eberly
According to the historical account:
When the citizens of Austin resisted his attempts to move the capitol, Houston sent a delegation of Texas Rangers to steal the government archives. They would have succeeded if it had not been for a fiery local innkeeper named Angelina Eberly, who heard the rangers loading their wagons in the middle of the night. She hurried down to the the corner of what is now Sixth and Congress and fired off the town cannon, missing the rangers but blowing a hole in the General Land Office building. The cannon fire roused the populace, who chased down the rangers and recovered the archives near Brushy Creek.
And so we ended our whirlwind tour of Austin with a bang.

What sorts of activities do you seek out when you travel?

Places to go

The New York Times recently published a list of 46 places to go in 2013.

Image source
What I like about the list: While some of the recommended locations are travel staples (Isn't Ireland on every travel list?), many of the suggestions are off the tourist-beaten path.

It's rare that I come across a Places-To-See! list on which I've seen so very few of the places.

46 Places to Go in 2013
  1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  2. Marseille, France
  3. Nicaragua
  4. Accra, Ghana
  5. Bhutan
  6. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  7. Houston, TX, United States
  8. Rossland, BC, Canada
  9. New Delhi, India
  10. Istanbul, Turkey
  11. Singapore
  12. Montenegro
  13. White Salmon River, WA, United States
  14. Hvar, Croatia
  15. Mongolia
  16. The Big Island, HI, United States
  17. Philippines
  18. Vernazza, Italy
  19. The Kimberley, Australia
  20. Ningxia, China
  21. The Adirondacks, NY, United States
  22. Oslo, Norway
  23. Constantia, South Africa
  24. Lithuania
  25. Burgos, Spain
  26. Lens, France
  27. Changbaishan, China
  28. Porto, Portugal
  29. Puerto Rico
  30. Koh Phangan, Thailand
  31. Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka
  32. Jackson Hole, WY, United States
  33. Bangkok, Thailand
  34. The Jeseniky, Czech Republic
  35. Waiheke, New Zealand
  36. Yucatan, Mexico
  37. Charlevoix, Quebec
  38. Pecs, Hungary
  39. Republic of Congo
  40. Ireland
  41. Getaria, Spain
  42. Mergui Islands, Myanmar
  43. The Falkland Islands
  44. Washington, DC, United States
  45. Casablanca, Morocco
  46. Paris, France

What I dislike about the list: I've added country information for each destination, but the original list is a confusing mix-and-match of cities and countries, regions and specific locations. For example, the Kimberley region in Australia is bigger than Germany, while White Salmon River seems an oddly exact choice on a list that includes such broad travel destinations as Nicaragua and Mongolia.

Nevertheless, it's thought-provoking catalogue of travel destinations.

Would I have included Bhutan on my travel bucket list before reading the Times?
Perhaps not...
Then again, I wouldn't have picked Houston, either.

Completing the list: Out of the 46 selected destinations, my somewhat anemic tally is 2.5
(DC, Puerto Rico, and a drive-by of Jackson Hole)

How many of these places have you visited?
How many are on your travel bucket list?
What location(s) would you add to the list?

Monday, January 21

In search of the 5k PR (week 2 training update)

The quest for the sub-24 5k continues...

Last week's plan / actual:
Paid my respects to Mr. Lincoln*
  • Monday: strength circuit + 3 mile run / core and upper body workout + 3.2 mile run
  • Tuesday: hill repeats / 1.5 mile warmup + 5 hill repeats at 7:45 pace
  • Wednesday: yoga / 25 min yoga podcast
  • Thursday: 4-5 mile easy run / 5.2 mile run
  • Friday: rest day / Is an air-travel day really restful?
  • Saturday: 6 miles / 6 mile run through Rock Creek Park and along the Mall in DC
  • Sunday: fun workout / beach walk + hike at Fort Pickens area of the Gulf Islands National Seashore

I accomplished all of my workout goals for the week AND visited two national parks. (Not bad, eh?)

Last week I was sore and struggling by Wednesday. This week I skipped lower body strength exercises on Monday to leave my legs fresh for hill repeats on Tuesday.

It worked.

I needed my Friday rest day, but I wasn't so worn out that walking up stairs seemed like a chore...

For the record: Rock Creek Park might be my new favorite place to run...

This week's plan:
  • Monday: strength circuit + 5 mile tempo run
  • Tuesday: reverse ladder intervals (1600, 1200, 800, 400)
  • Wednesday: yoga + stretching + foam-rolling
  • Thursday: 4-5 mile easy run
  • Friday: rest day
  • Saturday: 9 miles + core workout
  • Sunday: fun workout -- anything goes

What's your favorite national park?
How are you progressing on your own 2013 goals?

*Yes, you might recognize that photo of Lincoln from an earlier trip I took to DC.
With a mere 24 hours in the city, I decided to really RUN on Saturday morning, rather than pause to play photo-journalist. I took only one picture on the run, this rather grainy, out-of-focus-and-overexposed shot from the entrance to Rock Creek Park near Connecticut Ave NW:

Entrance to Rock Creek Park at Connecticut Ave NW
The photo hardly does justice to the beauty of dawn breaking over the city...

...but sometimes just being there is more important than stopping to take a picture.

Morning motivation

Read this story about Iván Fernández Anaya.

That is all.

Image source

Sunday, January 20

Can't we all just get along?

Ever get frustrated by an over-crowded gym at the beginning of January?
Image source
My, haven't we all!
But... maybe we shouldn't.


In the post Attack of the resolutionists, Fat Slow Triathlete targets the angst that many of us feel as the typical January influx of newbies overrun "our" gym (only to disappear by February 1).

FST then turns the situation on its head:
So here's the thing ... try to swallow your irritation... our intent is to ensure that people seek out fitness no matter their perceived obstacles. The sad truth is that some of us have become the obstacles. By making people feel uncomfortable, or out of place, we chase these newbies out of "our gyms" or aways from "our parks". These people take shelter back into their comfort zones; their homes, their TV's, their foods. Not to be seen again until January of the next year.
It's important that everyone exercise regularly, because new research shows that the brain benefits of exercise begin to wear off after a period of inactivity.

Maybe by reaching out to that lost-looking newbie we can encourage another budding athlete?
Image source


Continuing the "who is annoying who?" theme... Last month Gina Kolata of the New York Times asked why runners inspire extreme resentment in others. Our talk of training plans and our 13.1 and 26.2 bumper stickers apparently elicit eye rolls from the non-runners among us.

Maybe I'm too deeply entrenched in my love of running to notice when other people cast aspersions on my sweaty self, but I wondered "why anyone would roll their eyes at my bumper sticker?" I smile when I see another 13.1, 26.2, or (way to go, triathlete!) 140.6!

And then I read a Washington Post article about oversharing parents.
(Warning: do not read the last example while eating lunch...)

And something clicked.

I do roll my eyes at some outward displays of pride.

I have a particularly strong reaction to the bumper stickers: "My child is an honor student" and the flippant response "My child beat up your honor student." Both make me cringe a little (the latter more than the former, of course).

We are, it seems, all inflicted with the same diseases: pride and passion.

Fortunately or unfortunately, we're not all passionate about the same things.

That leaves us with three choices:
  1. We can avoid those who don't share our passions,
  2. We can tone it down and stop talking about what we love in order to accommodate the preferences of other people, or
  3. We can fly the freak flag proudly, and (this is the important bit) be similarly respectful of those who are passionate about a subject we find perplexing.
Option one sounds like the least conflict-inducing, but mine would be a mighty lonely world if I were only friends with globe-trotting runners. Similarly, I suspect non-runners would miss out on a lot if they refused to be friends with anyone who ever ran a 5k.

While I don't and won't talk all about running all the time (so I suppose I do practice a bit of option 2), I would hope that my friends and colleagues would accept my recreational endeavors the way I accept their love of knitting, baking, bike-riding, or repairing classic cars. If it makes them happy, it makes me happy. (Just don't expect me to go hang gliding with you...)

So... I'm strongly leaning toward option three.

I will curtail my eye rolls over the honors student bumper stickers. I will suspend my beliefs about the healthful benefits of being outdoors for those who dedicate hours of their day to MMGS. And those t-shirts that proudly announce where you've been, where you're from, or where you want to go? Right on!

We all have a right to be proud of the things we're passionate about.

Let's just accept it and move on.

What's a pet-peeve you have?
What's one you'd like to let go of?

Friday, January 18

Weekly roundup: Friday potluck

Welcome to another installment of the weekly roundup we all know and love: Friday potluck!
This week... Oh, the stereotypes!
(And plenty of other juicy stuff, too...)

Act dumb and Boys Will Like You!

In painful-to-read pandering to stereotypes, a data analyst goes undercover and collects helpful hints for online dating. In her summary for the Wall Street Journal, analyst Amy Webb urges women to dumb down their dating profile...
Women: Don't mention work, especially if your job is difficult to explain. You may have the most amazing career on the planet, but it can inadvertently intimidate someone looking at your profile. I realize this sounds horribly regressive, but during my experiment I found that women were attracted to men with high-profile careers, while the majority of men were turned off by powerful women.
I'm not sure what's more insulting: the idea that a woman, in 2012, should play dumb to land a mate, or the idea that a man's ego is so fragile he would be seduced by such a trick?

And don't even get me started on the research ethics violations associated with collecting information without gaining the informed consent of the participants.

Thankfully there are plenty of strong, smart people out there who don't dumb down their achievements, fluff their resumes, or pretend to be weak in order to shine.

Challenge accepted!

The results are in for Kim's 2012 New 2 U Cross Training Challenge. I'm impressed by the wide variety of workouts and how very far some participants got out of their comfort zone!

Buh-bye heel drop?

I'm pretty sure these are knockoffs, since I can't find them on, but still...
Image source

Boost your immunity

Since flu season is upon us, the New York Times has a helpful hint: Allegedly, you can beef up the protective factor of your flu shot by exercising.

Quote of the week:
"...the only shoe you need is the one that allows you to enjoy the experience [of running] without pain. That’s the only thing that really matters. I don’t much care if it’s a traditional 12oz shoe or a 4oz flat, the key is that it works for your body."
Pete Larson (Runblogger)

Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, January 17

Daily dose of awesome

Little awesome moments happen every day...
Daily Dose of Awesome highlights the awesome little things that don't make headlines (but should).

Not Awesome: Last Tuesday morning I locked myself out of the house. Still in my pajamas. With no phone. No wallet. Covered in dust and cleaning products.

It's a long story to explain how the lockout happened.
The short version is: Blame. The. Cat.
Sure, she looks cute and innocent...

Awesome: The kindness of neighbors.

One of my neighbors is often home during the day. (Oh, the joys of retirement!) He's the de-facto neighborhood watchman. He was the first person to greet Hubby and I when we moved into the neighborhood, and he's the first person all the neighbors call when there's an emergency.


Pajama-clad and all, I went and knocked on my neighbor's door.

He welcomed me in, let me wash the grime and dust off, and handed me his phone so I could make the long-distance call to Hubby's cell.

Then my neighbor turned his computer on so I could send an SOS message to Hubby at work. (In this day and age email gets a response FAR faster than voicemail.) Once we knew help was on the way, my neighbor offered me a place to rest (read: not locked outside in my pajamas) while I waited.

The keys... which were inside the house when the latch clicked closed behind me.
Had my neighbor not welcomed me in, I'd have been up a creek without a paddle (or stuck outside with neither cell phone nor wallet). I'd probably have languished out there for hours, with no food and only the garden hose for drinking water, 'til Hubby came home from work. Goodness knows walking to the nearest convenience store in flip flops and pajamas - then begging to use their phone - was not an attractive alternative...

What awesome stories do you have to share?

Postcards from Austin (dining out)

When we last left our heroes on their travel adventure in Austin, they had just finished a run around Town Lake and were headed to 24 diner where they beat the crowds to demolish huge plates of food...
Being awake early (and not hung over) on New Years Day
meant we beat the brunch rush...
Brunch of champions:
deviled eggs, strong coffee, and steel-cut oats with apple chutney at 24 Diner.
Thanks to the recommendations of an ol' grad school pal, we also dined at Trudy's and the South Congress Cafe. The cafe, like many restaurants in Austin, serves brunch until late in the day so I enjoyed carrot cake french toast at 3pm.
Carrot cake french toast and venison sausage at South Congress Cafe
Goat cheese salad at South Congress Cafe
A word to the wise: The lines are long and the dining areas are crowded at every popular restaurant in Austin. Be prepared to wait an hour for a seat and to dine elbow-to-elbow with the strangers at the next table.

We spent quite a lot of time staring at the front door of the South Congress Cafe... (but the food was delicious).
South Congress Cafe
The Texas Chili Parlor was the one place where we didn't have to wait for a table. Soooo divey. But soooo delicious. The restaurant is a favorite among local UT fans. (Be forewarned, the XXX chili is not for the faint of heart, but then neither is this restaurant...)
Texas Chili Parlor
(I tried to take photos of my chili, but it was too dark inside to get a good pic.)
Austin also has a thriving food truck scene. Hubby enjoyed Torchy's Tacos...
Torchy's tacos: an Austin favorite
... while I browsed a nearby open-air market.
Arts market on South Congress
I am both ashamed and proud to admit that I ate several meals at the Whole Foods flagship store on Lamar and 6th.
Whole Foods
The store has the fresh produce, whole grains, unique spices, and healthy foods you'd expect at a Whole Foods... (with crowds galore)
Floral section of Whole Foods Austin
... and also has a series of cafe-style mini restaurants within the market, along with the biggest salad bar I've ever seen.

Seriously, if you're in Austin, go to the store. Eat there. Browse the beer cave (yes there is a beer cave). It will not disappoint.
Brew pub "cafe" within Whole Foods
Speaking of beer... the nightlife scene in Austin offers something to suit almost any taste. Be prepared to stay up late.

And not for nothing... the bartenders in this town make a mean margarita. Look for "Mexican martinis" on many bar menus (a double margarita served in a cocktail shaker is often the economical purchase if you plan to have more than one).
Margaritas: The Skinny & The Silver Spur at The Iron Cactus (6th & Trinity)
We'll end this culinary adventure where the (actual) trip began... The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que just north of the city in Round Rock, TX.
Slicing brisket at The Salt Lick
We feasted on ribs, smokey brisket, smoked sausages, baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, pickles, and onions. (No Texas bbq plate is complete without a side of pickles and onions.)

What's your favorite style of barbecue?
Favorite post-run meal?