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How Not To Run A Half Marathon Pregnant (AKA My NYC Half Recap)

My thought process was simple. I had been training for 12 weeks for this race. I missed it last year because personal life issues were too much to overcome. It was my first half marathon of the year, with many upcoming because I had already purchased my entry for my third NYC marathon. The NYC Half was a BIG deal, there was a brand new route, and it started in Brooklyn! Pregnant or not I was running this race. Spoiler alert: It turned out to be a disaster, but hey! I tried. 🙂

To Run Or Not To Run

I had found out I was pregnant 10 days earlier, and as soon as it happened all of the pregnancy symptoms arrived quickly. It was a hard 10 days, non stop nausea, headaches and exhaustion. The week before I found out I was preggers, I ran my final 10 miles–it wasn’t easy but I got it done. I had completed my training. Even though I was not doing well, I kept going back and forth on whether I wanted to run. I’d be slower than normal but I didn’t want to be swept (especially on this new course).

I joined a facebook group dedicated to the NYC Half runners, and somehow I jumped on a thread and everyone convinced me to run. Did I share I was preggers, sick and tired? NOPE. Somehow though, they made me feel confident. So I went to the expo, picked up my bib and prayed for the best.

Race morning

It was in the low 30s. Worse than the last time I ran this race. I wore way too many layers so I didn’t freeze to death in the morning but that wind was nothing to play with AT ALL. I ate a little bit of fruit that made me feel nauseous almost immediately and I prayed for the rest of the day. I told myself, just get through 5 miles, then the next 5 miles and you can absolutely complete a 5k (even if you are crawling).

When the race started, I adjusted my hand warmers in my gloves and did a run/walk sequence early on so that I didn’t lose my cookies going full throttle. The beginning of the race was gorgeous, the sun was rising, running downtown, over the bridge and finally into Manhattan.

Once we got onto the FDR Drive however was when things started to fall apart for me. I simply didn’t want to do it anymore. I wasn’t concerned about the safety of the brand new baby growing inside of me, but I was concerned about possibly puking and losing a ton of fluid which would be a disaster with more than half the race to go.

To make matters worse, I took a look back and saw the dreaded school bus with flashing lights not too far in the distance. I knew this sweep bus would mean the end of my race and I had gone too far to not finish. I kicked it into high gear and started moving as fast as I could to at least keep the bus at a manageable distance. The cold of the day wiped out my battery (again!) but this time I was prepared to recharge with a portable battery pack at mile 9 when I entered Central Park.

The final four miles were brutal. I had nothing left. The tank was completely empty. My hips hurt. I tried to inhale a gel but my stomach was NOT having it. I dry heaved a couple of times. I cursed myself over and over for even attempting to do this. I knew however, if I kept pushing, I’d make it and go home and crawl in my bed for the rest of the day.

I finished. The bus wasn’t too far behind me. I got my medal and I took myself home. I don’t regret the race, but if I ever was put in this position again, I’d choose NOT to run. When I see these amazing pregnant mamas running throughout their whole pregnancy, I am SO impressed because that is NOT me. My body is not built like this. I knew then that I would not be able to participate in the 6 plus races that I had already purchased (ughhhh!) including the NYC Marathon which I brilliantly purchased insurance for (Thank you Lord!). Plus, I can defer until next year and not have to worry about running 9+1 this year for automatic entry. So it all works out. <3

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There was nothing “sweet” about my 16th half marathon. #unitednychalf It. Was. Brutal. You see that sweep bus? It was on my tail at mile six. MILE SIX. Now I am a proud ? but I’ve never had to run away from the sweep bus!! ? on top of that I don’t run well in cold, everything hurt and the grand Central train station was almost too tempting to resist. I told myself if I just make it to Central Park at mile 9, then I have already won. I did. I ran/walked for 4 more after than and made it to the finish where @peter_ciaccia gave me the best hug. ❤️ whew. Thank you everyone for your encouraging words. This one was hard but I’m glad I did it. ?? special shoutout to @danawanawutang for helping me through the last mile with laughs and hugs. ?????

A post shared by Nellie ??‍♀️BrooklynActiveMama (@glamnellie) on

Have you ever run a race even though you physically did not want to? How do pregnant runners do it?


Friday 16th of September 2022

how many weeks were you when you ran?


Sunday 18th of September 2022

I was about 8-9 weeks along I believe


Wednesday 23rd of May 2018

Insurance! That's so clever. I'm not a runner much, but when pregnant with Des, I could barely lift my head for some of it.. so.. I feel ya!


Tuesday 22nd of May 2018

You finished, which is more than I could do not pregnant! You are fantastic!


Monday 21st of May 2018

Oh Nellie!!! I'm so sorry you had to slog yourself though this but you did it - you finished - and that says a lot about you. I hope next time you will listen to your body and your senses (LOL:-) and NOT race but it's done and I so hope you were able to successfully complete part two of your plan - lay down in bed the rest of the day!!


Janine Huldie

Monday 21st of May 2018

Aw, glad it worked out in the end. But felt terrible as was reading for what you went through during the race. But still you are truly one amazing mama through and through! <3