Recap: 2023 NYC Half Marathon

By | March 26, 2023

runfess that this isn’t my favorite race, but the marquee NYC races always bring folks to the city and seeing people is most definitely my favorite. Linking up with Kim and Deborah and sharing link to Zenaida’s recap to talk about the race and weekend that was.

43 NYRR races. 43 years

I knew going in this would be my 13th Half, what I didn’t realize until looking up my results was that it was my 43rd NYRR race. I’m 43, so that was some fun symmetry. I had no idea I’d run that many -but I did 9+1 twice, so even with the covid years where I didn’t race with NYRR from February 2020 – June 2021, it makes sense.


as I mentioned, I really loved the Team Wilpers training program. Before using it for another Half, which I absolutely would, I’d probably spend a month working on my base. I knew that was going to be a challenge with our gala and the holidays, but that goes with the territory of a March half. I got all the workouts in until the very last week, and all the long runs.

Wilpers paces in January

the man himself on Saturday morning

What did I run the NYC Half at? 2:50:48 or 13:02

Given the utterly insane wind and temperatures and going to a run walk earlier than planned thanks to a calf issue that flared in the last couple of weeks, that .22 seconds/mile? Pfft. I’m calling that on pace.

The Weekend:

Bib Pickup


more mischief

The original plan was to go to the Expo on Friday morning, but I was a little hesitant about that and the St. Patrick’s Day parade chaos. When Deborah’s plans changed and I found myself near Center415 on Thursday, I hopped in after lunch. For such a large race, the Expo could be better and I was in and out in about ten minutes. It’s not an Expo without a silly photo op or six. And yes, sneakers with a dress about sums up the weird weather we had.

With the Expo sorted, Deborah and I had time to catch up over a breakfast of green bagels and plot the weekend’s plans, including spectating the Team Wilpers shakeout run. I feel like green (and rainbow, for which Liberty is also known!) bagels are food’s own shenanigans. I said it on Facebook and I’ll say it here-while I like running, what I absolutely love is all of you who I’ve gotten to know through running. Erica and I now have a wonderful tradition of NYC Half meetups. Always good to have an IRL coffee date.

The Race:

Very not flat Cari

the start line bag, never mind the bag check bag

waiting at Eastern Parkway because I did not want to stand outside

but I finally did

motoring past the Barclay Center. Sweater made me super visible! Photo (c) Mo.

and 13.1 miles later, I finished

We knew the temperature was going to drop, but it’s March in New York and wind gusts aside it wasn’t really that unseasonable. As the old cliche goes, there’s no bad running weather, just bad clothes. I’d actually tossed a lot of my disposable clothes in last year’s races but happily found a bag I hadn’t yet taken to the thrift shop, which included a normal sweater which I had on top of the windbreaker for a good 5+ miles. I was a little sad to toss the Frozen Penguin scarf, but all other scarves I own are handmade (thanks, Mom!) and I hadn’t worn it since race day. Not visible is the base layer, the race shirt from the last time I ran this race. I’m pleased to report this year’s shirt fit much better, although I somehow don’t have a photo and think it’s in the laundry. The real difference maker was the hand warmers which I didn’t need to run with this year, even in our two cold snaps.

One thing that was a lot better than the 2019 start was the race’s corrals. Being just behind the Brooklyn Museum, there were plenty of train options and you didn’t need to trek through Prospect Park to get situated. There were lots of us in Wave 5, but plenty of portapotties and bag check, security were also well staffed which made for a really smooth experience. In the shuffle of stuff, I lost the hat in my not Flat Cari pic, so was glad to have and be wearing the headband although it somehow ended up not on my ears.

I’ll be totally honest, I had zero confidence that I was going to finish the race. Occasionally tight calves/foot pain had flared in the last two weeks and even though I planned to (and did) run with compression sleeves, I wasn’t sure they’d let me finish. I knew that if I was full on walking coming off the Bridge, I was going to DNF as I had no interest in walking the FDR. The compression sleeves felt good though and while I pivoted to a run walk earlier than planned, it wasn’t bad pain. Annoying, mostly because it came out of nowhere after the amazing Randalls Island long run. Admittedly I did slack off on my achilles tendonosis PT and while this wasn’t too much of an increase in mileage, my PT said that calves might just not have approved. To that I say, Calves, it’s not your choice. Buzz off 🙂

I ran the first four or so heading up to the bridge, the race plan, and from the Lower East Side through the finish it was pretty much a run walk. This was one of those days where intervals are perfect because I definitely maintained a faster run pace with the walking intervals than I would have if I had pushed it to keep running, which was never in the cards. I shed layers as I went – the purple jacket in prospect park, the sweater on the lower east side, and kept taking the gloves on and off. The major casualties of the wind? My phone and my iPod. Went to take a pic of the UN and nope, phone was frozen. Moved iPod out of its thigh pocket to try and heat the phone, and the iPod died in front of Grand Central. By that point, there were crowds and you didn’t need music, but I’d have liked it. When did I know I’d finish? Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA on the Manhattan Bridge.

I got my hands up, they’re playin’ my song, they know I’m gonna be okay

I was very happy to finish, but I was oh so cold. I literally walked into my friend who was volunteering at the finish, which was good since I couldn’t text her to say I was done and couldn’t remember where bag check was. I was very happy to get my coat back and absolutely did not walk home. Thawing was a process, although I was comfortable while running.

Final Thoughts:

  • I’m glad I decided to run this Half. I needed a kick in the ass to step up my mileage after the fall, because I really do love mid/long runs.
  • Grateful I sacrificed a finish time for a fun race. This would have been absofuckinglutely miserable if I pressed, and I know I’d have dropped out.
  • my PT is a magician and isn’t paid nearly enough.
  • Brooklyn Half 2023? I don’t think so. I’m going to enjoy running “only” ten in the Cherry Blossom and then spectate some friends. ETA: I’d been stalling on signing up because I didn’t think my leg was going to like it, so this isn’t a DNS.
  • Will I run it next year? Too soon to decide. I think I like NYC Runs’ Brooklyn a little more, despite the uphill at mile 9 and doing both isn’t really in the cards, so we’ll see. At worst, I’ll spectate, which I do love for this race.

Recovery Week:

Medal Monday in Central Park

time with friends

walking through CP with friends

Orchid Show with friends

Not much running this week as I wanted the hip and calves to calm down. I abandoned a run Wednesday morning because it just hurt but by Friday and Sunday’s short runs, things were much better.  Cycled twice so keeping active, which is good for the mental health along with friend time.


16 thoughts on “Recap: 2023 NYC Half Marathon

  1. Deborah Brooks

    Huge congratulations to you again on a tough race finish. Those winds were no joke. I am so glad we got to hang out together. I hope we can offer you better weather this weekend! See you soon

  2. Darlene

    Yes. Super congrats on finishing on that insane windy cold day.

    Glad I got to see you to chat. Next time we’ll coordinate my spectator role better.

    Enjoy cherry blossoms and DC. Oh and only 10 miles.

    I hope it’s warmer but not too warm for Brooklyn.

  3. Marcia

    Your recap is a perfect illustration of the premise that the best part of running are the friends you make along the way. Sounds like the conditions were crap and your calf was ornery but how great to see so many friends and just have fun with it. Go you!

  4. Wendy

    Congrats on finishing what sounds like tough race conditions! Wind is the worst and then add cold to it…well, no thank you. I agree with you that the best part of running is all the friends we’ve made along the way. Have fun this weekend at Cherry Blossom!

  5. Kimberly Hatting

    I’m glad you were able to make the best of the challenging conditions and circumstances. I also have “sacrificed” a “good” finish time for an even better (more fun) race experience–> no regrets. After all, we get to do these things, no harm in doing them on our terms 😉

  6. Susanne

    Congrats on finishing the race despite that calf/foot problem. I’d agree that PTs are magicians! I enjoyed seeing your photos with various familiar faces in them. Hope your next race offers some better weather.

  7. Jenny

    BRRR! Just reading this made me cold! I had already read Zenaida’s recap so I heard all about the weather. Congratulations on finishing this race! You know, sometimes I have to remind myself- no one is paying me to run. My time goals are all self-imposed. If we’re not having fun, then what’s the point? Glad you made the most of this day and got to see so many friends.

  8. Kim G

    Matt Wilpers seems like such a awesome guy – crazy talented but also so humble too. I imagine he was just like that in person too.

    Congrats on completing the NYC Half! I am still ins hock how cold it was that day, considering we have had such a mild Winter!

  9. Jenn

    One. Dang. Day.

    I am sorry it was so cold and windy. That does make it a bit more challenging, but I’m sure there’s an energy that just can’t be beat!

  10. Michelle

    Congrats Cari! Those conditions sound rough and then the calf issues…well done for getting it done. Have fun at Cherry Blossom – I’m sorry I’ll miss you….we’ll find a race together at some point soon I hope.

  11. Jessie

    Congratulations Cari! Sounds like some rough weather. Glad you are taking it easy this week. So fun how many bloggers you’ve met IRL!

  12. Debbie

    Nice job on finishing the half. It sounds like the weather was miserable. Here’s hoping you have much better weather on Sunday. I’m looking forward to finally meeting you on Friday evening!

  13. Chocolaterunsjudy

    I’m sorry it wasn’t your best race, but you handled it like a champ. Seriously, you have the best mindset about running!

    It was pretty brutal conditions for a half, too, weather wise. Brrrrr.

    Great job, Cari, truly! I hope everything calms down and you have a fantastic “time” at Cherry Blossom!

  14. Shathiso

    Look at all those familiar faces! So glad you got to meet up with our blogging crew AND that you kept this fun. That was a very good call on your part. Also, love the #43 fun fact!


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