I meant to write this before the close of the year, but life, work and travel got in the way. The trip to Houston was phenomenal: two nights in the Galleria Area and two nights in Humble (close to IAH airport). The weather was beautiful, and the BBQ was delicious. I highly recommend the Texas Marathon, which was held on New Years Day in Kingwood. Kudos and sincere thanks go to race directors Steve and Paula Boone! Much more on my trip in a later post.
During 2011, I completed 10 marathons (Charleston, SC; Miami, FL; Barcelona, Spain; Carey, North Carolina; Providence, RI; Storm Lake, IA; Appleton, WI, Hampton Beach, NH, New York, NY; Tucson, AZ) as well as one 50K ultra marathon on a tiny island near Bar Harbour, Maine (with a Lobsterfest at the end!). To get to these events, I traveled by plane, train, automobile, ferry, taxi, subway and bus!
The “running” highlight was completing my goal to run a marathon in all 50 States. I did this on a very stormy day in New Hampshire – when the only thing that kept me from dropping out was knowing that my friends and family would be waiting for me at the finish line. I think that they had already enjoyed a few beers by the time I crossed the finish line!
In addition to these “running” trips, I did quite a bit of “non-running” travel – among others, a whirlwind April weekend trip to Stockholm, Sweden, two trips to California, a summer trip to Colorado, and a Columbus weekend jaunt to Portland, Oregon..
In September, I attended an amazing trip with 150 frequent flyer junkies/professionals called the Star Alliance Mega Do! These fabulous people are as crazy about travel (especially points and miles) as my runner friends are about marathons! I loved them immediately! We met on day one in Chicago, gallivanted on day two to Montreal and soared on day three to Denver – aboard a chartered Continental flight. The people, the receptions and the tours and excursions were awesome. Hyatt, one of the sponsors, generously awarded all participants with Hyatt Diamond status for 2012. I won this trip via entry in a contest sponsored by The Points Guy, Brian Kelly, and had the honor, and the privilege, of being his seatmate on the flights (see announcement here). Am I a lucky girl, or what?
In 2011, I flew approximately 42,000 miles on Delta, and was able to maintain my Silver Medallion status for this year. I also flew at least 10,000 miles on Continental from the Star Alliance Mega Do and Oregon trips. As for hotels, I have kept Hilton Gold status for a few years, and by virtue of the Hyatt Diamond status (from the Star Alliance Mega Do trip discussed above), have gotten status matches or increases from a number of other hotel programs, such as Starwood (the loyalty program for brands such as Sheraton and Westin) and Priority Club (the loyalty program for brands such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza).