Home races I Ran My First Half Marathon aka Bay Ridge Half Marathon Recap

I Ran My First Half Marathon aka Bay Ridge Half Marathon Recap

by Nellie

I completed my first half marathon, The Bay Ridge Half Marathon  on October 4th, 2014. Months and months of training led up to this moment and I couldn’t have predicted what kind of crazy was in store for me! I didn’t blog that I was going to do it, because I wasn’t sure I would make it over the finish line, but I did, and here is how I did it.

PRE Race Jitters

All week long I had been watching the weather forecast and the consistent report was that Saturday was going to be a soaker. I didn’t really start fretting until 2 days before. I had never run in the rain before, not even a little drizzle. In times of rain or extreme heat I usually escape to my trusty treadmill. I was freaking out in the worst way!

One of the many resources that I depend on is the BLACK GIRLS RUN! NYC Facebook group. I stalk the group daily because these girls are hardcore and all levels from rookie to absolute professional. I asked them for any tips they had for running in the rain and they gave me a couple great tips:

  • Cover the front of your sneakers with duct tape to slow the soak in your feet
  • Wear a garbage bag or disposable poncho while waiting
  • Body glide, everywhere, (Allie gave me that tip too when I reached out to her in a haze of freaking out)
  • Wrap your iPhone, iPod in a zip lock bag which would prove to be a painful decision later.

Race Day

When I woke up, the rain was light and forgiving. It took me about an hour+ to get across town and even after bib pick up the rain was light and super manageable.

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I met a BGR sista while I was waiting (she identified me by the duct tape on my sneakers!) and she was the sweetest. We talked about upcoming races and she helped calm down me a million. And just like that, I had a new running friend.

Running in the (torrential) rain

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As we lined up to get started the winds picked up dramatically and the rain began coming sideways. It was so bad. My adrenaline got me to mile four before I was broken by the stinging (hail?) rain beating me into submission. It was about mile 7 that I felt my underwear soak. It was the craziest feeling. Everything else had already been soaked through but for some reason I wasn’t ready for that area to be cold and damp, too.

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Despite the soaked everything, I still gave it all I had to run my best race. What I didn’t realize was that I was running with a very speedy group. It wasn’t long before the distances between the runners and I got wider and wider. Since it was a course that we had to repeat 2x, it was super obvious how far behind I was. Oy vey. But I heard a little voice say, your race, your pace.

Finally I got to mile ten. I was feeling okay, tired, but not defeated. I just wanted the relentless rain to end so I could finish the race in peace! There were recesses in some of the areas on the course so that meant running through very deep puddles and absolutely no way to avoid them unless I jumped in the river, which was a thought that crossed my mind more than once.

With 10 miles left I finally found my groove. It was great, the rain was not so bad and my body had just enough left to get me to the end. Except my trust iPhone did not. My music faded so quickly I didn’t know what was happening. When I pulled it out to check it, (I was praying it wasn’t water logged!) it was safe and dry just dead. I always run with music. I always run with the Nike app. Both gone. With 3 miles left and practically nobody on the course. It was at that moment I knew I had to dig all the way in and make it happen. I started singing to myself (it totally didn’t matter, no one was around!) and counting to myself. Most of all I said over and over, “finish under 3”. I had a hard goal of finishing under 3 hours. I was determined.

When my waterlogged feet crossed that finish line and I got my first medal and I was tempted to cry, lots. I mean,  I no one would know anyway right? I didn’t. I took my medal, walked around a lot and absorbed what I just did. 4months ago I decided to start running. I am now a half marathoner. It is the sweetest feeling.

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When I finally located my husband and boys, I changed my clothes and felt a stinging pain on my left side. Apparently the plastic from the zip lock bag that I stuck in my pants had rubbed off a few patches of skin. I felt none of this while running. This comes from the person that never chafes, ever. It healed pretty quickly though thank goodness.

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Thank you for reading this amazingly long recap of my first half marathon. I have 2 more halfs, one 10k this Sunday, and a 5mile turkey trot for the rest of the season and I can’t wait to run all of them!

Have you ever run in really inclement weather? What was the last goal you worked really hard towards and completed it?

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41 comments

Kristina Walters October 10, 2014 - 5:17 am

You are super hardcore! I am so proud of you! You never set any limitations for yourself and it shows! Congrats on completing your first half marathon!

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 9:02 pm

Thank you so much Kris, your tips and own training was a true inspiration for me!

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Janine Huldie October 10, 2014 - 7:03 am

Definitely sounded like an amazing experience and got to be honest I am so not a rain girl fan, so running in it sounds awful to me, but you actually made it sound pretty damn good! Congrats and you are seriously awesome, Nellie!! 🙂

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 9:02 pm

Thanks Janine!!

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Allie October 10, 2014 - 7:10 am

YOU DID IT!…and you did it the hard way. Wow Nellie. I’m so, so proud of you. I cannot wait to give you the biggest hug. You are now a half-marathoner. YES!!!!!
Just think, when you run without rain (maybe even sun? gasp!) you will feel like a million bucks 🙂

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 9:01 pm

I did that today and you are right, I felt like a million dollars today…I suppose it was just a rough way to get initiated into the 13.1 club!

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Miss Nutralicious October 10, 2014 - 9:03 am

Congratulations!!! What an accomplishment, you should be proud! I used to like running in the rain, but now that I wear glasses, I feel like I need windshield wipers whenever it sprinkles.

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 9:00 pm

haha, I think I would have liked it if it was a shorter distance for sure. Thank you for your comment!

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mELANIE October 10, 2014 - 9:18 am

Congrats! I am running my first half on Thanksgiving. Your story is very inspiring. I have run in the rain before but not sure if I could handle it for that long.

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:59 pm

What a great day to run your first half!! I love it 🙂 Thank you for your comment and good luck on your race! I hope you have FANTASTIC weather!

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Carla October 10, 2014 - 10:34 am

Congrats!!!!

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:58 pm

Thanks Carla!

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Katrina October 10, 2014 - 11:53 am

CONGRATS and way to go mama, so so proud of you! Skys the limit!

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:58 pm

Thanks Kat! Especially for calming my nerves at Fitbloggin when I told you I wanted to run a 10k!

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Patty October 10, 2014 - 12:19 pm

Such an amazing moment! You did it! So proud of you. Thank you for being my running inspiration. xoxo

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:57 pm

Thank you Patty!! xo see you soon.

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Kimberly (Manifest Yourself) October 10, 2014 - 1:21 pm

WOW! Didn’t know a ziplock bag could do that type of damage! Crazy!

And I am SO proud of your friend. You are amazing and SO strong!

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:56 pm

I know. It was SO bad. but thank goodness it didn’t affect the running. Thanks Kimmy!

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LaShawn October 10, 2014 - 3:20 pm

Yay!! you did it!! Last year when I ran the Peachtree Road Race here, it rained drizzled on and off. I was so anxious not to fall!!! Congratulations again!!!!

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:56 pm

Yes the falling fear was an issue too. I just wanted to finish in one piece and I’m glad I did!

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Britt October 10, 2014 - 3:46 pm

Wow! That is so amazing!! Congrats to you for competing such a long distance after only four months!! You are truly inspirational!!!

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:55 pm

Thanks Britt!!

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kita October 10, 2014 - 3:53 pm

Congrats to you. That is the type of weather to be in bed on but you pushed through and did that.

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:54 pm

YES there was no where I wanted more than my bed. In fact I stayed there most of the day after.

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Carly October 10, 2014 - 5:10 pm

I was out in that rain at the playground, thinking, “I am such a hardcore mama, braving this rain!” What I was NOT doing was running a freaking half marathon!! Wow, Nellie, you are inspiring! (Also a sneaky sneakerson with your ‘surprise! I ran a half!) 😉 I ran a half once in the rain & was miserable. My shoes got so heavy – duct tape is such a great idea. Congratulations, half marathoner!!!! So proud of you.

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:54 pm

LOL I know. I am a sneaky sneakerson. I was just hoping to get across the finish line 🙂

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Kim October 10, 2014 - 6:44 pm

WooHoo!!! You rock, Nellie!!!
I would have bailed with that rain because I’m a super big wimp!!!
Way to set a goal and meet it even in nasty weather.
I can’t wait to see what you do when you run a race in nicer weather – it will be so much easier mentally!!!

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:53 pm

YES you are so right, I did one today and boy what a difference!

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Dani October 11, 2014 - 12:55 am

Yoooooooooo! You’re a true G. How you run thru that? Shoot. I’m impressed man.HUGE CONGRATS TO YOU!!!
(you don’t know how to sit still do u? You didn’t get the just sit and do nothing gene huh?)

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:53 pm

haha thanks Dani. and NOPE I got it from my mom. We are always into SOMETHING! lol

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Leslie October 11, 2014 - 9:54 am

Yay Nellie! Congratulations on reaching such a fantastic goal! I’m so proud of you and so impressed! Running in the rain is no joke. I’ve never done it, but the Husband has (his last 10k was a soaker – and he trained in the snow once or twice). So how has this changed your goals for the Disney Princess 10k?

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:52 pm

Thanks Leslie! I dont think I can do snow…I am such a wimp…(and a klutz for that matter) I decided last minute before I registered to do the princess half! So I did this one to really get a feel of it because honestly Disney is a lot of fun but not a race I’d ever PR in!

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Jill October 11, 2014 - 5:53 pm

Oh Nellie, I am so proud and happy for you! Sounds like you had a memorable and fabulous race! Great job, and can’t wait to hear about the next one 🙂

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:50 pm

Thanks Jill! You are my inspiration so I appreciate your kind words 🙂

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Tamara October 11, 2014 - 8:36 pm

I can’t stand rain, but it seems to be good luck for so many of my runner friends.
You rocked and I can’t wait to read more.

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:50 pm

Thanks Tamara!

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Nellie October 12, 2014 - 8:52 pm

Thanks Tara, what an initiation into the 13.1 club!

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Kas September 29, 2015 - 10:46 pm

So glad I found this blog post. I’m running Bay Ridge this year and of course there’s rain predicted! You described exactly how I am feeling about it. Scared, worried, nervous. It’s not my first half but it’s my first run in rain.

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