My 40th Birthday Gift to Myself: Running the NYC Marathon


Editor’s Note: Falyn is a member of the Beyond Type Run 2022 team—a team of nearly 50 people living with type 1 diabetes who ran the 2022 NYC Marathon on November 6. They’re on a mission to raise awareness and funds for type 1 diabetes, with fundraising open through the end of 2022. Congratulate Falyn by making a gift on her fundraising page!

How did I go from, “There is no way I can ever run that far” to “If they can do it, so can I!”?

It’s all about mindset.

It is easier said than done, but if you surround yourself with the correct people, you will shift your mindset and you will be able to accomplish anything you set your mind to.

From 2006 to 2009 I lived in NYC. I was in my mid-20s and just enjoying life. I always watched the NYC marathon from my friend’s apartment on the Upper East Side.

I always said, “Wow! I wish one day I could say that I ran a marathon.” From that point on, it really stuck with me. I was always into health and fitness, but always let the excuse of “my blood sugar will drop low” prevent me from taking action.

Motivation to do more

In 2018, I trained to run my first half marathon. I was so surprised that I was actually able to do it (with lots of trial and error!).

I then ran my second half marathon in 2022. When I completed that race, I felt good. I felt like I could mentally take on another challenge.

That is when a fellow type 1 teammate shared a link to apply to be on the Beyond Type Run NYC Marathon team in a Type One Running Facebook group back in March 2022.

I am turning 40 on November 18, 2022, so I thought it would be the perfect time to be able to say “I ran a marathon before 40!”

Once I got accepted and committed, I knew it was all about training, testing and tweaking my approach and mindset.

Training along with family life

I have four kids ages 12, 10, 6 and 2, so fitting the training in is definitely sometimes a struggle, but I make it work.

My husband loves to golf on the weekends so we just communicate what we each have going on and choose a day to do our “training.” This shows our kids the importance of staying active and pushing themselves to do things in life! I love being a good example for them.

I like to follow a plan and set baby goals. Breaking it down, taking it day by day.

If I miss a run or do not do the full amount of miles on the schedule, it is ok. I have not beat myself up about it. I just make it a point to stay consistent with at least two runs during the week and one long run on the weekends.

This plan has been working well for me, I am not feeling burnout. Although there are some days I don’t want to put the miles in, when I do it is always worth it.

Training for a marathon takes a lot of mindset work, not only for the running but also balancing everything else we have going on!

Training along with diabetes

Those of us living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) come across as just having to dose insulin and count carbs, but having T1D is way more than that. It goes deep in you and it is a 24/7 battle.

T1D and training for a race take a lot of testing and tweaking. Do not get down on yourself if you don’t have the best blood sugars all of the time. I have definitely had runs where they stay in range the entire time, but I have also had runs where they stay high!

When you find fuel that works for you, that also makes a huge difference in combination with how you manage your insulin needs (whether through multiple daily injections (MDI) or an insulin pump). I personally use Tresiba and Novolog injections and use the Dexcom continuous glucose monitor (CGM). 

When I trained beyond 13.1 miles, I knew I would be able to train and run the full marathon. That was the turning point for me. I ran 14, then 16, then 18…and my belief in myself grew every single time.

When you’re pushing toward a goal, you find a power inside you that you never knew you had. It’s truly a magical feeling and something you really can’t describe to someone who has never run that distance.

Go after a dream, push through the barriers and make yourself proud. Do it for you and only you! Many will say you’re crazy and do not understand why you are putting your body through this, but deep down inside, you will know the real reason you are running.

I want to give a special shoutout to my husband, Josh Shilts, who is always supporting me in whatever I want to do in life, and my parents for always helping with our kids when we need the help. Without all of you, I would not be able to be a part of this race team and run NYC!

Everyone I have met from Beyond Type 1 and the running team—you have been an inspiration and a great resource and guide for training.

WRITTEN BY Falyn Shilts, POSTED 10/18/22, UPDATED 05/22/23

Falyn Shilts has been living with T1D since 1996, has four kids and has been married for 13 years. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida. She loves to stay active and help others learn how to live and lead a healthy lifestyle with diabetes. You can follow her on all social media platforms under Falyn Shilts or visit her website