Race Recap: 2015 Gulf Beach Half Marathon

Last Friday, I gave you a little bit of a preview about the 2015 Gulf Beach Half Marathon in my #FridayFive post.  So, head on over there if you want the quick and dirty 😉  Otherwise, hang tight because this might get lengthy.  To give you some history, I ran the Gulf Beach Half Marathon in 2013 and again in 2014.  In 2013, I set my current personal record on this course and loved the race.  Since 2013, running and I have established a fairly fickle relationship.  Since then, I haven’t set any PRs and have dealt with some nagging piriformis issues.  After dry needling, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, etc., I entered this year hoping to have a strong fall racing season.  Back when I registered for this race in the spring, I had high hopes that this would be the race that I would once again crush to set a shiny new PR.  Well, let’s just say that not everything goes according to plan.

Gulf Beach Half Marathon 2015

This year, come race day, I decided it was worth sleeping in my own bed the night before the race.   Milford, Connecticut is about a half hour from my hometown of Norwalk, CT.  So, that is how I discovered this little gem of a race in the first place.  Since this is about an hour and half from where we currently live, I woke up pretty darn early to get to the start. I got there with plenty of time to spare, parked right along the water, and picked up my bib.  They offer race day packet pick-up which always makes me a happy runner!  From there, I got myself organized and went for a two mile warm-up.  I had a long run of 15 miles on the schedule and I needed to make those miles happen before the race because I wanted to get home as soon as humanly possible after the race.  I ran those miles very easy, at about a 11ish minute mile pace.  At the time, I just wanted to get the mileage in but looking back, I wonder if it was just too much, not part of my typical morning race routine and caused my race time to suffer.  Who knows if it played a part?

Gulf Beach Milford CT

As I mentioned in previous recaps, this half marathon takes you through the quaint coastal community of Milford and offers gorgeous views for several miles. The section of the course along the boardwalk is really amazing scenery.

Mile 1:  9:12 / Mile 2:  9:02 / Mile 3:  9:22

Mile 4:  9:12 / Mile 5:  10:06 /Mile 6:  10:09

Gulf Beach Half Marathon Boardwalk

By the 10k mark, my mind started to get the best of me and I knew I was going to struggle through the remainder of the race.  I started thinking about the New York City Marathon, how I was behind in my training, and feeling very out of shape.  I mean, think of every negative thing in the book and it was running through my head.

Mile 7:  10:42 / Mile 8:  10:20 / Mile 9:  10:39

Mile 10:  11:31 / Mile 11:  11:02 / Mile 12:  10:52 Mile 13: 9:01+

Final: 02:12:39

Instead of focusing on my breathing, I felt myself getting more and more worked up. I felt like a failure and my splits are absolutely an indicator of when I started doubting myself and then gave up.  So, yes, I thought about not putting my splits in this post because they are embarrassing for me to admit.  But, I decided to put my those numbers out there because it really isn’t the time on the clock that embarrassed me.  It is the fact that I gave up on myself. Running has taught me that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible.  Yet, on this day, I didn’t believe in myself.  So, the numbers are there because I want them to serve as a reminder of the power your mind holds.  Running is as much a mental game as it is a challenge of physical endurance.

Gulf Beach Half Marathon Finish

Gulf Beach Half Marathon

Thanks for listening.  That felt good to put out into the universe 🙂  And, stay tuned for more recaps, I still have yet to share my adventures at Ragnar DC and the SONO Half Marathon.  Oh, and things do start to look up 😉

Tell me, have you ever had a race that puts things in perspective for you…  Maybe not at first but after you sit on for a while?



  1. So much of racing is mental. I have a few races that I reflect on…frustrations for missed performance goals and times that weren't reflective of my physical capabilities. those are the ones that fuel the fire. I've been able to pick up somewhat of a pattern so hoping those experiences help me choose my season and race prep and all those things a bit better. Congrats on gutting it out and earning that very cool medal.

  2. whostardis says:

    i think you did fantastic, you may have let the crazy mind games affect the second half but you didnt quit altogether you kept going and finished. thats an accomplishment all by itself 🙂

  3. Congratulations on your race – I must say that's a really great time considering the issues you were having! The mental aspect of running can be really intense sometimes, but please know that you're not a failure!

  4. What a great medal! Congrats 🙂
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  5. I think putting the splits out there also show that we are all human and can't have good races every time we toe the start line!! Great job pulling through it! Love the medal!
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    • I think the first year I started back running, it was very easy to see progress at every single race. Now, it's a little bit different and sometimes I just don't have the time or energy to put into training – I need to not be so hard on myself and enjoy the experience of racing again!

  6. I'm sorry this race was not what you had hoped for. Everyone has bad races now and then and it makes the great results that much sweeter. I think dark periods can happen in almost every race and figuring out how to deal with them is part of becoming a better runner. When friends who don't run ask me questions about the sport, I always say that it is 50% mental. Maybe experts would not agree, but the human mind and will are strong and can get you through many many hard places/events.

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