Sometimes postcards get lost in the mail and the sender returns home before the postcard arrives...
Greetings from Austin (and Happy New Year)!
Ringing in the New Year at Wine Dive in Austin
There is an abundance of good food, good running, and good recreation in Austin. Trying to pack all of that into one postcard would be like trying to shove an oversized suitcase into the overhead compartment on a regional jet. It just shouldn't be done...
(Read: You can expect more than one postcard from this trip.)
So, first, let's talk about the running...
Run 1: Covert Park at Mount Bonnell
Covert Park, at Mount Bonnell, is the Highest Point in Austin!
Plaque at the parking area
It is (please don't laugh) 775 feet above sea level.
So... perhaps calling Bonnell a "mount" is too strong a term, but the views of the Austin city skyline and of the lake/river are worth the many-stair climb to get to the "peak."
Some of the many stairs to get to the top of the "mount"
Full disclosure: I didn't run this trail, I hiked it, but the route would make for a nice, short, hilly course or a useful location for hill repeats. I did spy runners among the photo-taking tourists.
Trail to the top (alternate route if you want to skip the stairs)
View from the peak
The view of lake-side real estate made me wonder what it's like to live in a house in which thousands of strangers can look straight into your backyard every day...
The views take in the lake and sprawling real estate below
Run 2: Lady Bird Johnson Trail (aka Town Lake Trail)
The Town Lake Trail is, far and away, the most popular runner, biker, hiker, dog-walker spot in the city.
Trailhead at Congress Ave
We went for a run at dusk, thinking we'd need to hurry to make it back to our hotel before dark. But the trail was surprisingly busy, even after sunset.
North side of the Town Lake Trail through downtown Austin
More Town Lake Trail
The trail goes under, over, around, and through a series of bridges...
Crossing under a bridge on Town Lake Trail
View from one of the bridges along the trail
View of downtown Austin from a trail-side pavilion.
And past some unique art...
Artists are very creative with the scenery. Old pilings become a sea monster in Town Lake.
Call it street art. Call it graffiti. Either way, keep your eyes open for whimsical messages, social commentary, and random acts of art.
"Don't give up" graffiti seen in the distance (middle right) from the pedestrian bridge. Click here for closeup .
Ghost bikes remind people (especially drivers) about cycling safety.
And there's art every runner could love. (The sculpture is cool, but I suspect the artist wasn't a runner. No runner has ever bent in quite that way... Trust me. I tried.)
Running man statue near Town Lake Trail
Run 3: More Town Lake Trail and an accidental 5k
On our last day in town, Hubby and I headed out to explore the other side of the lake.
Crossing the bridge at Congress Ave
The view from the south side is pretty impressive...
View of the city from Town Lake Trail
As we were running, we heard the distant crackle of a loudspeaker.
Then we heard the national anthem.
And when the song ended, we both said "There's a race!" So, we did what any good runner-tourist would do, we bandited we ran over to the starting line of the Commitment Day 5k to take photos and cheer on the runners.
Yes, that's me looking like a bandit. No. I did not bandit the race.
When the runners passed, we took off to finish our run.
We said hi to Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Stevie Ray Vaughan statue at Town Lake
We crossed back over the race course on the Pfluger pedestrian bridge and cheered some more.
... and we finished our run at 24 Diner.
(More on that later.)