Race Recap, WEW

2016.030-031: Big Beach Half Recap

Hey friends! I’m linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap.


We ran the Big Beach Marathon & Half Marathon in Gulf Shores, AL this morning, and so I’ll be coming at you with a race recap today. This inaugural race started and finished at The Hangout, which made for a really awesome pre and post-race atmosphere. The course itself ran through the paved trails of Gulf State Park and finished on Beach Blvd with some amazing views of the gulf.


If you notice the distance on the race map above, you will see that the actual race was close to 13.5 miles, so … not a half marathon. I’m still a little bit baffled at how something like this happens. The half marathon distance isn’t an estimate, it’s an exact distance. 13.1 miles. This was the race map from the event website, by the way. The marathon was certified, but they didn’t certify the half. In my opinion, that is really just not acceptable. That is my only complaint though. I know this was a first-year race, so I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but … if you want runners at your race, you really need to certify the course.

It was a really warm day here on the gulf coast, which made for interesting race conditions. It was mid-sixties and 95% humidity at the start (read: not ideal for long distance running). Now that I have adequately set the stage, let’s talk about the race itself. I’m sure if you are reading between the lines at all here, you know that it didn’t go exactly as planned.

Going into the race, my A goal was to PR (1:24:41). With that being said, this wasn’t specifically an “A goal” sort of race. I wanted to run it because it was a first-year race and it was here locally, but otherwise it wasn’t specifically a race that I was targeting. I kind of feel like my A goal at pretty much every race is to run my personal best, so that’s why I am saying that my A goal was a PR. I think that I am in shape to run a PR, but today wasn’t my day.

I started the race off with 3 pretty strong miles (6:28, 6:22, 6:29). At this point, I was pretty much on target with the pace I wanted, but by mile 4, I was already starting to struggle and I knew that I needed to readjust my goals. That’s when it hit me … I didn’t really have any other goals. Oops. I just made a conscious effort to reign the pace in a little, as I knew there was no way that I could hold 6:30 the rest of the way.

Miles 4 through 8 were 6:45, 6:56, 6:49, 6:49, 6:56. We ran on the paved trails in Gulf State Park from mile 2 through basically mile 10. The trails were pretty winding and they were actually slick because of the crazy humidity. There were also a few rolling hills along the way, which I wasn’t really expecting. I ran the first 4 miles completely by myself, which was pretty tough mentally. Around mile 5, a guy came up beside me and we ran together for several miles. We chatted for a little bit and that helped to pass the time.

Miles 9 and 10 were both 6:57. Once we came to mile 10, we (finally) exited out of the park and headed back towards the finish along the main beach road. Around mile 10, Daniel and his buddy, Kenny passed me. I was excited to see them, but they didn’t exactly hang around to run with me … they pretty much left me in their dust. I was totally fine with that though. I was just really happy that Daniel was having a good race. He has still been battling the piriformis issue, so he wasn’t really sure what to expect. They were approaching the race as a workout, instead of an all-out effort, and man did they have one heck of a workout! They started out conservatively and picked it up at the end, which was pretty much the exact opposite of what I did. Their way is definitely recommended, by the way.

Miles 11 through 13 were 6:55, 6:50, 6:53. At this point I was just chasing Daniel. I kept my eyes on him and followed him to the finish. For whatever it is worth, my last .1 was 0:47. I lapped my Garmin at this point, so that I would know what my actual half marathon time was. It was 1:28:53. The “extra” distance that we ran added another 1:41 to my time, so my “official” race time is 1:30:34. I was 5th overall and 1st female, so I am very pleased with that. Daniel got third overall, which was awesome!


We hung out (at the hang out) for a while after the race. We had several friends running the full and we wanted to see them finish!


A special shout-out to my friend Jill, who ran a 1:33 for her very first half marathon ever. What?! Who does that? This girl. She’s amazing! She has so much potential. I can’t wait to see what she is capable of.


Also a special shout-out to Rebecca, Lizzie and Jessica, who ran the full marathon in crazy hot, humid conditions.


In conclusion, today was a really fun, really hot race. It didn’t go exactly as planned, but really, when does anything ever really go exactly as we plan it to? All we can do is do the best with the circumstances and situations that we are faced with day in and day out.

Mission accomplished!

What was the highlight of your weekend?


6 thoughts on “2016.030-031: Big Beach Half Recap”

  1. I just don’t like it when the race distance goes over by that much! At least everyone runs the same course, but it messes with your mind. I will definitely keep this race on my radar for next year. Hopefully they will have that solved by next year. Congratulations on your female win in those warm and humid conditions! And to Daniel for his 3rd overall placement. Thanks for linking with us Sam!


  2. Congrats on your first-place finish, and congrats to Daniel as well!
    My sister-in-law and I ran the half yesterday, too, and we were both thrown by the extra distance, as well. My Garmin was lining up almost exactly with the mile markers, so when I got to 13 and there was no marker in sight, and no finish line turn in sight… that was pretty frustrating.
    Hopefully they can get the kinks worked out for next year (would love to see better organization at the aid stations, more restrooms, a med tent along the trails, and a map of aid stations/ restrooms/ info on what is available at stations available pre-race!).
    Still, good after-party and an enjoyable race overall.


  3. That is awesome Sam! I’m so glad both of yall had great races. I have camped at Gulf States Park and I would love to do this race! I honestly had no idea about it until I saw you and a few others, Debra, run it. I’m checking on this early for next year! I do hope they will make sure to get the course in line with half standards. That does suck the wind right out of you knowing you are supposed to be done already! Speaking of sucking the wind, yea I had a blooper this weekend in a 10k. 😦 Oh well I still kept it honest. Thanks so much for linking back up with us!


  4. Congrats to you and your friends on an awesome race! I ran the half at Big Beach this weekend. It was incredibly humid. I immediately regretted that I didn’t wear shorts. My Garmin was pretty spot on with the mile markers until that final mile. I thought I’d never reach the finish line. That’s my only complaint about the race though. I was impressed with this first time race. I would definitely run it again!


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