Sunday, December 25, 2011

DSE Christmas Blind Date Relay

There's no big surprise in that I don't mind running the hills of San Francisco.

That stands for all hills except a few, one of them being Strawberry Hill in the middle of Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. It's a massive uphill that corkscrews to the top and then winds back down, all totaling a really terrible mile. Add a mile around Stow Lake, and you have a good place to do torturous hill and mile repeats.

And, apparently, the DSE run club's Christmas Blind Date Relay run.

Renee was also staying in San Francisco for Christmas this year, and we decided to make a "Friendsmas" out of the day, starting with the Blind Date Relay. You basically show up and get paired with a complete stranger. They try to pair males to females, but with more females showing up for this fun run, there were a couple same-sex teams. No attention is paid to age or speed or anything else that would normally matter. It seems like a pretty fair playing field, and it's cool to know you have a teammate on such a short and miserable run. ;)

I knew I was in luck when I drew the name of a man who went by "Tower" out of a hat. He was a tall, young man with a stride that went on for a mile in itself. Claiming he wasn't very fast coming out of racing CIM, I could tell he was sandbagging. I couldn't wait to see how fast he really was.

Each team member runs a 2-mile loop -- one mile up and down Strawberry Hill, and then one mile around Stow Lake -- before handing off to their teammate who does the same loop. The pseudo starting gun went off for the women, and after a quick jaunt up Stow Lake Dr., I found myself as the first female. I held that lead until the top of Strawberry Hill (that hill is a bitch), and then a couple ladies caught me on the way back down.

Mile 1: 7:45

I finished my lap around Stow Lake and tried to catch up to the ladies in front of me, but I was coughing up a lung. I guess I had a bit of a cold the last week or so, and the cold air this morning partnered with panting up a hill made everything come up. It was quite liberating and disgusting at the same time.

Mile 2: 7:05

I gave Tower a high-5 as he took off for his leg of the race. He yelled some congratulatory words as I approached him, then shot off like a bat out of hell. In a flash, his mile-long legs were gone.

On the uphill to Stow Lake, Tower passed the first man ahead of him, and on the way down from Strawberry Hill he caught up to the other. Holding a sub-6:30 average pace, Tower came charging in as the first man to cross the finish line.

Which meant, as a team, we finished first?!

Overall team time: 28:17 (7:04 average pace)

I have a number of "I Participated" DSE ribbons, and even a 4th place ribbon from a race earlier this year. But never before have I received a blue ribbon -- this will probably be my first and last one!

I participated -- and won!

Me & the dude solely responsible for winning our relay.

Renee and her teammate, Mort!

Overall, this fun run was everything it was described to be. I love the DSE run club because of the diversity of the crowd that shows up to every event. There are some competitive folks, some middle-of-the-pack folks, and some people who are really out just to say hi to their friends. But they are all there to have fun, and everyone is equally as pleasant.

And I can't imagine spending part of this holiday around people much cooler than that.

Merry Christmas!


  1. How badass are you?! WOW! Nice job! And I love your Christmas colors! I think the outfit made you super speedy.

  2. Congrats! My running club did a similar "Paarlauf" (pair run) right before Christmas. But for our the partners took turns doing 1 mile repeats for a total of 5 miles each. It's a fun way to sneak in some speed work, isn't it?

  3. That sounds like a ton of fun! And winning... so cool!!!! Congratulations!

  4. How fun! Nice job WINNING the race. You going to partner up with your new running bud again? Seems like a good speedy match ;0

  5. Sounds like a fun time! My first race ever in the Bay Area was a DSE 5K at Sawyer Camp Trail. They're a fun bunch. Merry Christmas! :)

  6. Awesome!!! Looks like it was a lot of fun! Congrats on the win! Woot!

  7. That sounds super fun! Merry Christmas!

  8. That sounds like a great way to do a fun run - congrats and a belated Merry Christmas!!

  9. That sounds like a really fun race! I do remember that area from the SF marathon, that is where I was like "when will these hills stop!" haha Congrats on the first place finish!

  10. What an awesome idea for a race! Congrats on the first place finish!

  11. Those are more than average results... 3:35 at CIM. I don't think that's the median!

  12. CIM pics... Thought you might be interested.