Race Recap: Gulf Beach Half Marathon 9/14/2013

This week will be RACE RECAP catch up week on Lisa Runs for Cupcakes!  First up, the Gulf Beach Half Marathon!

Gulf Beach Half Marathon

A few weeks before the race, I decided to run the Gulf Beach Half Marathon in Milford, Connecticut, about a half hour from my hometown of Norwalk, CT.  This is about an hour and half from where we currently live so after Cora went to sleep, I drove to CT and slept over at my grand-parents house to make it an easier drive the morning of the race.  I arrived pretty early and the parking lots were already full.  But, I was one of the first people to park on the side roads along the water so I didn’t have a far walk to the start.  Thankfully, I arrived when I did since those side roads filled up really quickly!  My friends Crissy and Brian were also running the race so I was excited to have some company!  I met up with Brian right after I picked up my packet and we sat in my car for a bit because it was super cold!  We waited in the realllllly long lines for the bathrooms and then were finally able to meet up with Crissy for the start.


Once we were all at the start, I realized it was a pretty small event.  I later learned that the race maxed out at 600 participants and is definitely the smallest half marathon I have ever run.  I was surprised that I loved it!  I never had any stretches where I was alone and overall I thought that this was the perfect amount of runners for this particular course.  Plus, the shoreline offered some stunning views and I surprisingly did not mind the fact that it was an out and back course.  At the start, we were warned about missing turnoffs but I felt that the course was well marked and manned.  The only challenge was the walkers enjoying their morning strolls along the boardwalk portion of the course.  Since it was out and back course, it was a bit narrow and challenging to dodge those Milford residents out enjoying their mornings and fellow racers coming the opposite direction.

So, the race… My only goal heading into this race was to run under two hours.  At the time, it was about six weeks out from my marathon so I knew I had increased fitness and felt like that would be a solid training run for me.  I also heard that this course was known to be FLAT and FAST so I figured if I felt good, I would run it faster.  Putting zero pressure on myself for this race must have worked because I felt really, really good the first few miles.  I kept telling myself to slow down and take it easy.

Mile 1 – 8:26 / Mile 2 – 8:09 / Mile 3 – 8:12

I ended up bumping into Crissy again somewhere around the 3-mile mark and we ended up running the rest of the race together.  She is a really strong runner and I don’t think I would have kept my pace without her!  This made me realize that I should really try to find a running buddy.  It’s so much harder to stop and walk if you will lose your company!  And, somewhere around thr 9 or 10 mile mark, I realized that we could come pretty close to the 1:50 mark if we tried to pick it up, so we did.

Mile 4 – 8:25/ Mile 5 – 8:43/ Mile 6 – 8:19 / Mile 7 – 8:34 / Mile 8 – 8:18 / Mile 9 – 8:38

Mile 10 – 8:38 / Mile 11 – 8:30 / Mile 12 – 8:37 / Mile 13 – 8:00 / .1 – 7:49

There was also one minor detail that I did not realize until the finish.  YOU FINISH ON THE SAND.  That last 1/10 of a mile is a B!@*#.  Nothing like making you feel the burn as you cross the finish line!

DONE: 01:50:18 / 8:25 pace

Gulf Beach Half Marathon

After we finished, Crissy and I finished, we waited for Brian to come across the finishline and took a few photos on the beach.  GORGEOUS!

Gulf Beach Half

And a few folks from Team Red, White, and Blue came by to introduce themselves.  It’s great meeting new runners and hopefully I will see these folks again now that I’m going to try and run more local races.



Team RWB

RWB at Gulf Beach

Overall, I was so happy with this run, the race, and the bling!  I’m certain I will be back next year!  And a big thanks to Crissy for helping me shave seven minutes off my PR!



NOTE:  My friend Crissy blogs as part of Be Fresh Fit.  Go check them out!  And feel free to read Crissy’s race recap here!


  1. Lisa you are so speedy now! That course looked like the perfect place to run a PR! Congrats and good luck at MCM! You will be amazing!
    My recent post Journey to 26.2: My Pit Crew (014)

    • Lisa_Cupcake says:

      Thank you Pam! Hopefully Christine and I will survive! I'm lucky to have her as a long distance training buddy!

  2. Calling me a strong runner is one of the best compliments I’ve ever received! I had so much fun running with you!!

  3. I seriously want to be like you when I grow up! You are so fast!! Awesome job! This race looked fun and that medal rocks.
    Mar @ Mar on the Run! recently posted…Running and Football: Lotsa Recapping!My Profile

    • Lisa_Cupcake says:

      HAHAH! Why thank you 😉 I'm slowly getting faster. I think the increased mileage from marathon training is helping me get faster…. and I still consider myself a relatively low mileage runner. Just wait and see when you start training for your marathon!

  4. dnardi710 says:

    I'm glad to hear you liked this race, I've looked at doing it before since I used to live in Milford, but was always sort of turned off by how small it was. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it!
    My recent post Hartford Marathon: Registration Volunteer

    • Lisa_Cupcake says:

      What a small world! Yes, I plan to run the race again. I like races where there is no hassle at the start and you don't have to arrive at the crack of dawn! Plus, it went really smooth for a small race! See you at MCM!

  5. Congrats on a great race! It looks like it was a gorgeous day! Awesome job! xo
    Jesica @rUnladylike recently posted…Half Ironman Training: Week #18My Profile

  6. CONGRATS on a new half marathon PR! 7 minutes is HUGE. You are doing so amazing. I found that my speed increased with more mileage from marathon training last year too. Fun that you ran most of it with a friend too!
    My recent post 4 weeks to go!

    • Lisa_Cupcake says:

      Thank you! That mileage is definitely helping and I still feel like I run relatively low mileage. But, it works for me, keeps me healthy and is okay with my work schedule so I don't plan on increasing it any more right now.

  7. Happy you enjoyed it. Though I’ve run some halfs myself, I always find myself enjoying other runners’ recaps.

    any upcoming races?


  1. […] In September, I plan to run the the Gulf Beach Half Marathon.  I scored my half marathon PR there last year and I would be lying if I said I would not be trying to beat that time this year.  And, then there […]

  2. […] Gulf Beach Half Marathon:  I ran my current standing PR (1:50) on this course and all summer, I was hoping to build back up to set another PR on this course.  Well, long story […]

  3. […] Marathon. This was my PR race from last year, where I worked for my 1:50:15 finishing time {recap here!}. I knew I was not in shape to try for a PR but I thought it would be the perfect training run. I […]

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