I Ran the NYC Half Marathon – on 1 Hour of Sleep!

Yes – you read that correctly, and no it’s not click bait!

Hello friends, good morning. My eyes are bleary and my legs are shot – but I’ve got 13.1 miles under my belt and a heart full of really fun memories!

Let’s just get right into it, shall we? Because like…how in the world did it come to be that I made the — admittedly really stupid decision — to run on just 60 precious minutes of Z’s?

Well – the night before was one of my best friend’s birthday party. And so I didn’t get home until 4:30 in the morning. Clean, innocent fun – just…really late!

I came home, took a power nap for an hour, and then hopped in an Uber to Brooklyn, where the race began at 7am!

I’ve got to tell you – it was such an incredible experience. I ran it with a dear friend, and we finished in under 2 hours!

We started in Brooklyn, ran through Prospect Park, through the little BK neighborhoods, past the Barclays Center, over the Manhattan bridge, on the FDR Highway which overlooks the East River, through Times Square — which they had closed! — and finally, through Central Park and finishing at Tavern on the Green!

It was like a love letter to NYC. You really got a feel for all the different neighborhoods and topography of the city.

But the coolest part was that along the entire course, there were people cheering us on! It was such a sight to behold. Thousands and thousands and thousands of people, all lining the streets with signs and cowbells and enthusiasm – cheering on the runners!

And naturally, over the course of the 13.1 miles, I got to do some thinking! Because, clearly — I had some time. But it was such a beautiful parallel to – not just recovery – but life in general.

The course, it had some crazy hills, making that stretch of race particularly difficult. But to have a friend to run with, and having people there cheering us on – it made it easier. And dare I say it…fun!

There’s nothing more beautiful, than community. Sometimes I think we underestimate the positive impact we can have on people. A kind word, a genuine smile, a random phone call to catch up — we are all running this life race together, and if we can cheer someone else on — it really makes a difference.

Another thing I thought about – was how far I’ve come in my freedom from anorexia. Recovery is a journey, and with it comes many seasons. And for me, one of those seasons in my early recovery, was a severe addiction to exercise.

Exercise addiction is a common manifestation of an eating disorder, and many girls use it as a crutch in their recovery to – not so discreetly – hang onto a warped sense of control.

And that was absolutely my case. And to read how I finally kicked that addiction once and for all — you can click here.

But, to see how my relationship with exercise has gotten to where it is today — where I am no longer chained to grueling workouts, or self-hate-driven sessions of pushing my body to the absolute limit — it filled my heart with so much joy.

So for me to be able to run a half marathon, out of pure enjoyment, celebrating my healed and healthy body, – it was a such a meaningful victory.

I just remember back to those days, of feeling absolutely trapped – in a whirlwind – and just clinging to a false sense of control.

How things have changed. My body is not mine to destroy. Nor is it the be all-end all to my worth. Nor, is it a punching bag for me to take out my fears and anxieties.

It is a temple of the Holy Spirit. And how I treat it is a direct reflection of my love for the Father. Because He made me. He fashioned me together, and His spirit is dwelling in my heart. So the love and respect that I now show my body is an act of worship.

Nourishing my body, staying healthy and strong, filling up my spirit with positive and nurturing relationships, celebrating all the wonderful things God created me to do: dancing, jumping, running, resting — it gives glory to God.

My body is an act of worship.

So being able to to do this race — from the right mindset — it was so incredibly meaningful.

Will I be doing another half marathon? Eeh, probably not. Maybe if the spirit moves me, but for now – I’m going to just listen to my body — and right now, it’s telling me to take a nap and let it heal from the exertion yesterday!

But before I do – I got a few DMs on Instagram, asking about tips for running a half marathon.

So – the number one question was what type of running shoes: and here they are….They’re honestly like running on a dream. The insoles are orthopedic quality, so they are really supportive, and they look super cool. I also wore these on my 80 mile hike on the Camino de Santiago this summer in Spain. And let me just say – they are the best shoes I’ve ever owned.

What are good pre run snacks when you’re gluten free?

I like to go as nutrient dense as possible – so that’s nut butters, avocado, larabars. I’m not a huge fan of smoothies or protein shakes before a run, because it feels like it’s sloshing around in my stomach. So I always opt for a banana with lots of almond butter!

General tips for racing?

Here’s the thing: if you’re like me, and are competitive to a fault, then you’ll want to keep up with “the pack” of runners. But honestly, you’re going to burn out so quickly if you try to run faster than you’re used to. So put your pride aside and just run your own race. Which, is honestly, such an allegory for life. But let ’em pass you! Especially at the beginning, it’ll feel like everybody and their brother is zipping past you, but just run your race. Have fun, and celebrate with gratitude for the ability to run and move your muscles! God is good!

Also – this is weird, but always brush your teeth before you go! haha Having a pleasant minty fresh mouth, in my opinion, is the optimal experience. Plus – not to be gross, but if I can feel, like, part of a pumpkin seed stuck in my molars, it will drive me nuts the whole time. So yeah — brush your teeth. And – shameless plug – use my magic whitening toothpaste! Haha I’m not kidding – it’s a life changing product!

And similarly, always slap on some chapstick before you go. In my running fanny pack, I always keep my favorite tube of chapstick, and Listerine pocket strips!

Lastly – REST!! After a long run – especially a half marathon, your muscles are taxed!! So give it a break! Treat it with some love.

And on that note — take care of your feet! When I’m just walking around the house, I wear my Yoga Toes, which really helps keep my alignment correct. And then I always make sure to remove any callouses, and keep them lotioned!

OK that’s all for today! Have a great day!

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BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

207 thoughts on “I Ran the NYC Half Marathon – on 1 Hour of Sleep!

  1. This is so awesome! I don’t know how you did it on an hour of sleep though. Such a great reflection on your recovery. I have a similar story so it resonated

  2. That’s really cool, well done! Your testimony of healing is awesome! P.S. I have been wearing Brooks for at least a decade or more. I wear the Adrenaline GTS in 11.5. 😊 I even have a bunch of old pairs in the garage for mowing the lawn too. Can’t wait to get the GTS 19s. Brooks is the best! God bless!

  3. Congrats on the big run! I USED to be able to do that, too! Used to (2-mile relay and cross-country)! But that was many, many years ago. Do it while you can.

  4. Wow, that’s amazing – congrats! Did you train for the race? I could not run that much, even if I had 12+ hours of sleep haha. That is truly an incredible accomplishment 🙂

    – Katie

    1. Thank you so much Katie! No I didn’t train – that was probably another mistake. Haha thanks! Hugs and love xox

  5. An hour of sleep and then a 13 mile run? I salute you from my comfy recliner. I am having a hard enough time giving up between-meal snacks for Lent. A half marathon is simply not happening here. Maybe you even get a double salute! 😀

  6. Well, congratulations on finishing! For as much as I used to exercise on a NordicTrack and Schwinn Airdyne, I could never run very far at all. And then to do it on 1 hour of sleep? You’re a maniac!

    My favorite point from this article is how important community is! We’ve got the BBB community, the general blogging community…it’s another way of saying we all have each other! It seems people underestimate community, especially when it comes to church. “ I can be a good Christian without going to church.” Yeah, and you can go hiking alone, but what happens when something goes wrong? You’ve got no backup, no support! Hiking through the world without the help of a community of believers is dangerous stuff!

    I could see some other good parallels to life in your experience, but this was the standout for me. Thanks for always having something good for us to chew on!

    1. Thank you Jeff! Yes I am so grateful for this little community here. Y’all are a blessing 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  7. Amazing job. I ran the full Marine Corps marathon on 1 hour of sleep (because I get insomnia before big events). It’s amazing what the body can do.

  8. Hey Caralyn: congratulations on a great run. Thanks for the running tips. I’ll use them next……..oh, that’s right, there can’t be a next time, there wasn’t a before time. Although some days I feel like “before time”. 😀 Back to the tips. Since I am not running, does that mean I don’t need to follow that good advice you have given??

    Seriously, congratulations really, you are remarkable. You take care of God’s entire temple that He has entrusted to you, so well.
    Hearing what you are able to do physically tells that you are eating and exercising well.
    Reading and hearing what you are doing Spirituallly, certainly tells the fact of you spending time with our Father, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, as well as heeding the voice of Holy Spirit as He coaches and encourages you through this marathon of life.
    You do great running through this marathon of life, and also as you coach and encourage many others along the way, stopping to give some a cold cup of refreshing water to their spirit, and to the hungry a bite size encouragement nugget.

    God Bless you Caralyn,
    Luv, 😀🌹❤️😘

    1. Thanks so much George, what a kind thing to say. We’re all in this together! Thanks for all the encouragement you give me!! Hugs and love xox

  9. Okay you’re definitely crazy 😱😂 I’m so glad you can just enjoy your exercise now rather than it being a control over you, thankfully I don’t have to take up running as I walk constantly so that’s my exercise 😂 also I found a new blog you may like. https:thisiswhoiam.home.blog

  10. Congratulations for finishing! I bet New York City has not been the easiest place to recover from an exercise addiction, but I’m so happy you have now found yourself in a healthy relationship with exercise!

    1. Thank you so much Sami!! yes! life is so much better when you’re free from that! hugs xo

  11. Great job on the run! You know, after reading your posts I feel inspired. I love how you describe your transition to thinking of your body as a temple for the Holy Spirit. Reading that made me think about how I view myself and my body in a different way. So thank you for that. God bless you!

    1. thank you so much Todd, aw what a kind thing to say, I really appreciate that! yes! big hugs xox

  12. That is incredibly impressive and nuts all at the same time, lol! I can’t even imagine how your body feels! But way to go my friend. I can say I’ve done some crazy things in my twenties after a night of partying but never getting up and running a marathon after an hour of sleep! Thanks for continuing to share your journey with us. I always enjoy reading your post!

    1. Thank you so much Lane! haha nuts for sure! Would not reccomend! hahah big hugs to you xox

  13. It’s great to put your thoughts into action. That’s how life’s experiences unfold before you, rather than getting stuck with imagined possibilities. That’s progress. Good on you.

    1. Thank you so much David! 🙂 Amen to that – progress for sure. God is good! hugs ox

  14. I read aloud, “the love and respect that I now show my body is an act of worship” and surrounding paragraphs to my daughters. Sound theology!

    1. Thank you so much Eric! oh my gosh, are you serious? Wow! That just made my day!!! I am so touched 🙂 big hugs to you and your girls! xox

  15. I remember being addicted to exercise back when I was anorexic and weight-obsessed. This was years ago when I was a teenager. I never did enjoy gruling workouts but would like to get back into exercising. However, my lungs are no good and I cannot run (an actual medical condition which prevents me from running). What you did I could never do, and it takes a lot of strength to power through that. It must feel nice having accomplished this goal!

    1. Hi Hilary, thank you for sharing that part of your story. Gosh, I’m sorry you’re dealing with that with your lungs! Will be praying for your lungs! Yes – great feeling for sure 🙂 big hugs xo

      1. It’s a genetic condition I inherited. There’s other things I can do that are low impact. Ty for caring about me, I appreciate it 💕

  16. Holy Schnikes!

    13 miles in two hours? After only getting 1 hour’s sleep? There SHOULD be a special medal for that feat. Just saying.

    Great going girl!

      1. Can’t wait to read about your next marathon. But umm . . try and get more than an hour’s worth of sleep the next time, huh? 🙂

      2. hahah thank you — yeah — preferably like — 10 hours!! and a proper hydration experience the night before too!! hahaha

    1. Thank you so much Tonya!! It was definitely a fun morning! And the nap in the afternoon felt GREAT. love you friend! hugs xox

    1. Thank you so much Benjamin! oh wow that’s awesome! way to go!! and yikes – NYE…must have been f-f-f-freezing!!!!! hugs xox

      1. Indeed. Near Dallas. Great place to live. I haven’t been to New York in a while I think last time was to Harlem in 2016 to preach.

      2. Oh cool. You’ve gotta come back!! Spring is the best time in NYC – hands down!

  17. Congratulations my friend. I can’t imagine running even with a full night’s sleep. Sometimes I run a marathon in my sleep and then I wake up. Just a dream 🙂

  18. It’s so encouraging to see your growth. It gives me hope to know I could move past my demons. I don’t recommend the lack of sleep but I am proud of your commitment. Also this post is a great reminder to run your own race.

    1. Thank you so much Suh Inisa!! 🙂 yes! You absolutely have the power to embrace that freedom!! 🙂 Yeah, def wouldn’t recommend the lack of sleep, but it was an incredible morning! 🙂 yes! big hugs xo

  19. My dear friend

    Thumbs up!

    While running you compare your life with it: all its ups and downs – you feel that the mind wants to stop you here and there but your inner will drives you forward, you want to keep your promise that you have given yourself – to finish this race: to begin something in order to end something, although mind tries to speak opposite in you – in this way we can feel the fight in us, we can feel that there is something stronger in us (as God resides in the temple of our body) – and whenever we have defeated the loud voice of the mind in us – we feel like winners who have gained a victory over the shortcomings that lie deep in us…

    From heart to heart big hugs, my dear friend
    Didi

    1. Hi Didi!! Yes!! our bodies are temples! Thanks so much, friend. It was a beautiful morning, and I’m so glad I did it! big hugs xox

  20. My first adult race (not counting high school and after I turned 18) was a half marathon — and I never considered myself a real runner! I have since completed 24 marathons. I am hoping that a marathon will be your next experience as it is a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment that can sustain you the rest of your life — through good times and bad.

    1. OH MY GOSH 24 MARATHONS!!!!! That is absolutely incredible. ROCK ON, FRIEND!!!! You’re inspiring me to give it a try!! Thanks so much for sharing your amazing story! big hugs xo

  21. Great job on the run! My biggest achievement is a 5k, but at least I have a few of them to be proud of.
    You are such an inspiration! Thank you for reminding me about our bodies being a temple for God. I learned that in grade school and didn’t respect it until later in life. Now I need to respect it again. May God bless you in a special way today.

    1. Thank you so much Kris! Hey, a 5K is awesome!!! Isn’t it a great feeling to cross the finish line?? yes – we are His temple!!! big hugs xox

    1. Thank you Ed! Oh interesting – I can bet that’s not a coincidence! God works in mysterious ways! Thanks for the recco – will def check it out! hugs xo

  22. Awesome! I’ve run races on little sleep and it’s a whole new experience, haha! Especially the recovery. But you are young so I’m sure you’ll bounce back quickly. Thanks for sharing about your recovery. I know a lot of exercise addicts.

    1. Thank you so much!! yeah, sadly the addiction to exercise is far too common. makes me sad to think about!! big hugs xo

  23. Congrats on running your race – I love that! Two weeks ago, a minister preached from Romans 12:1-2 about presenting our bodies to God as our spiritual act of worship, and that has been on my mind ever since. They further preached this in the context of reclaiming our health – the minister is also a RD! Then recently, I heard Sonalee Rashatwar say she considers her body as a family heirloom. I love that view of the body as well, and I think these two concepts go together so well. God gives us our bodies to honor and worship Him, and they are also a treasured heirloom from those who come before us. Our bodies are so special. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much!! You’re so right about that – we’re given them to honor and worship — love that so much. And not to mention…we’re made in His image!! how cool is that! Thanks for sharing that!!! hugs xo

  24. Congrats on the half-marathon, what an accomplishment! I saw you are on youtube, I am now one of your followers. I have a channel too, it is called Kathiey’s World. Thanks for your post!

    1. Thank you so much!! yes! I am on YouTube! 2019, I’ve fallen off my daily videos, but as soon as life settles down a bit, I will be back to making them again! Thank you for the follow! I’ll definitely check yours out too!!! hugs xo

      1. Sounds ike you think you could do better. Which is a sign you have caught the running bug. Think my best time is 1h40min. Since breaking my fifth metatarsal havent been doing that much but do miss it. Didnt break running, got caught with high heel, not good.

      2. Wow that’s amazing! And oh no!! I’m so so sorry to hear that!! Aw that’s so tough. Hugs and love xox

  25. This post and the one you linked to about exercise in recovery are so perfect for me right at this moment. Just this morning, I was praying and journaling to God about how frustrated I am that I can’t seem to make the decision to treat my body as a temple {as though I should be able to do it by sheer willpower}. I abuse it with either eating things my body doesn’t like or exercising too much as a form of punishment or worrying about gaining weight. Or doing all three on any given day. I am so so frustrated. However, I’m so glad that God has brought me to this place and I’m so glad you posted what you did today. It gives me many things to ponder. Thank you for always being real 🙂

    1. thank you so much Callee, I’m so glad it resonated with you. And I really appreciate you sharing your heart. Hang in there. You’re doing an awesome thing by giving it to God. Becuase you’re right – it’s a temple! 🙂 big hugs to you xox

  26. Wow, that’s awesome! I mean, I know you’re not hosting a running blog, but I had no idea you ran (though, duh, right?) Great time too!

    I’m a little jealous. I’m running the Colorado Springs Half Marathon in September and I’m a little nervous about it… plus I’m looking at a possible finish time of over 2 hours (cuz I’m old and slow).

    One thing your readers should know: the Brooks Ghosts may not be their running shoe. I think that’s a neutral shoe, and if they’re interested in running, they should get fitted at a running store to find their own shoe. (I’m a Brooks runner too, but I know you look way better modelling your shoe than I do modelling mine! 🙂 )

    1. Thank you so much Matt!! Haha yeah, only a little bit. I didn’t train for this – I mainly take walks for my exercise! Haha that’s a really great point about the shoes! Every foot is different and a proper fit goes miles – literally! Good luck on the Half in September! That’s awesome! Also – I love Colorado Springs 🙂

      1. Under two hours and you didn’t train for it. Geez… it’s a good thing I leave my Feeling in my other jeans so it doesn’t get hurt 😉 Seriously… despite my competitive nature, I like that running isn’t a competition between people (unless you want it to be). It’s not always easy, but I try to focus on only competing with myself.

        Colorado Springs is lovely. You could come run the half marathon here, too, without training; and shame me in person. 😀

      2. Hahaha seriously you’re too funny. A half at that altitude would definitely take some training!! We’re chillin at sea level here in nyc! Hehe

    1. Thank you so much!! Haha yeah it was quite the morning to say the least! Haha Hugs and love xox

  27. I was just compelled by the Holy Spirit to tell you this: “Do not let anyone get you down. The Lord loves you and that must trump everything. You are loved, precious one.” Just the messenger. Pleas be encouraged and as always, I love and believe in you also. XO😄❤

    1. Hi Tonya, oh gosh – this is honestly coming at the perfect time. THANK YOU. You’re definitely being Jesus’s hands and feet – and I couldn’t be more grateful for this encouragement!!! Biggest hugs to you, friend xox

      1. ☺️☺️☺️☺️☺️yes He does! And for all His children! ☺️☺️🥰🥰

  28. Congratulations! I remember running a Half Marathon not long ago and was not 100% trained for it and the last 3 miles were just down right miserable. Thanks for the tips too, I’m running in the Texas Independence Relay next weekend. I’ve been training for about a month for my 3 legs that I have to do. I’m excited and nervous. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much!!! That’s so exciting – good luck with your race!! Hugs and love xox

  29. Oh I love the application you make here. Got to take good care of the temple don’t we? It’s a long time since I took on something as gruelling as your marathon. At my age its a maintenance job now but very necessary if not always enjoyable. 🙂

  30. I know the title wasn’t click bait, but it worked. All I could thing was, “This girl is Wonder Woman.” As always, you didn’t disappoint with taking an ordinary life event and extracting the biblical principles. I direct people to your blog all the time, especially Christian ladies. Thanks for being a bright spot on the internet!

    1. Haha oh my gosh you’re too kind! Thank you!!! And wow – I am so honored that you would pass along my site. Thank you Matthew! Hugs and love xox

  31. Hi Caralyn! Great job on finishing your NYC Half! It’s inspiring to see you relate your athletic endeavors to your recovery. Thanks for the tips, too! I had some Brooks shoes that I liked a lot and ran many miles in them until they wore out. Was this your first half marathon?

    1. Thank you so much Zik!! Yes it was my first half. It was pretty fun! And oh yes – Brooks are amazing shoes! Hugs and love xox

  32. PTL! Congrats on finishing your race. Thanks for sharing NY with me in a whole new personal way! So loving!
    I am also so touched by your following the Holy Ghost with a no matter what. That’s when we know we love someone. When we know we trust them. Wholeheartedly! <3

    1. Thank you Gail!! You’re so wonderful. Thanks for brightening my day! God is good! Hugs and love xox

      1. Thank you for being so patient with me to answer! I gave that extra copy of Bloom to my friend. I mentioned that too in Leah & Rachel Bible Study Night 2 of 6. She loves it! Me and God love you!

      2. Oh my gosh I am so incredibly touched by that!! I’m so glad your friend is enjoying it! You rock, Gail. Thank you! Love you, friend!

    1. thank you so much Laudell!! I appreciate that! it was a great weekend 🙂 hugs xox

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