NYC Marathon 2017 vs. 2022: What I’m Doing Differently

When I learned that I’d be running the 2022 NYC Marathon for Arts in the Armed Forces, I had to do a lot of soul searching to figure out the best path to success this time around. The last (and first) time I ran it in 2017, I finished the race in the dark at a finish time of six hours and berated myself for months – maybe even years – on what I considered a less than stellar performance. I should have done better, I told myself. I did all the mileage, why did I crumble so badly around mile 22?

If I’m honest with myself now, I just did the bare minimum. I checked the mileage off the schedule and moved on, and told myself as long as I saw the number on my watch, I was golden and I’d have a great race. Five years later, I recognize that my negative experience was the result of setting unrealistic expectations and not taking my training seriously enough.

This time around, I’m doing three things differently to ensure I perform to the best of my ability.


In 2017, I relied way too much on the treadmill and paid dearly for it once I hit the pavement of the 5 boroughs. So this time around, I made a deal with myself that I’m allowed to run on the treadmill twice per week, max (safety/weather permitting). Long runs HAVE to be outside, too. So far, I notice a difference in my treadmill versus road running, mainly that the treadmill allows me to be faster and THINK that I should expect to see those paces on the road too. Nay nay. The conditions are MUCH different, and I have to consistently remind myself of that. But it’s making me stronger with every mile I log, and that’s what matters.

Speaking of stronger, I also completely neglected strength training in 2017. That’s why this year, I’m incorporating regular strength workouts (like the YouTube videos found in that link) into my weekly schedule, particularly early on (like right now). I’m particularly focusing on single-leg strength to address the imbalances between my two sides. My left leg is still weaker than my right as a result of my ACL reconstruction back in 2013, and that has led to some niggling issues that have sidelined me and made running difficult since then, like the piriformis syndrome I dealt with before the 2017 marathon.

(flashbacks to spending weeks in the chiropractor’s office in the summer of 2017)

Another part of that strength training involves tightening up my running form. In short, I discovered that I’ve been running with poor form for essentially the entire time I’ve been running. I always wondered why certain areas of my body would get tired so easily and early in a run, and why certain parts were almost never sore or didn’t feel engaged. With strength training and focusing on my form for the past 3 weeks, I have noticed a HUGE difference in how I’m able to run without feeling tired for many more miles than I used to. Simple tweaks like engaging my hips and core, stopping my arms from swinging across my chest, and keeping my knees farther apart have all added up in a big way. I’m so excited.

Lastly, I realize that with the stakes as high as they are this time around, I am going to need some professional help. So I signed up for coaching through Perform Running, a personalized running program that matches you with a coach based on your needs. While I’ve only just started, I am excited to see what I can accomplish with a coach helping to create a training plan and guiding me through strength training. It’s reassuring to know that I’ll have someone who knows the biology behind all these things and can help reel me in and push me when appropriate.

And this isn’t a sponsored post or anything (I’m paying full price for my subscription), but if you’re interested in checking them out, use code JSKARZYNSKI for 80% off your first month (which gives me 20% off too)!

All in all I’m really looking forward to seeing where I’ll be in a month or two of consistent changes and hard work. It’s been great to fall back into a training rhythm like I did back in 2017. I’m sure it’s going to get even harder as I go, but I’m ready.

Holy Crap, I’m Really Running a Marathon


… you said you’d never run another marathon and now you’re running one for Adam Driver’s nonprofit in 5 months.

I can’t say this is coming from completely out of the blue, though it might seem that way to an outsider.

The truth is, since I finally managed to get a handle on my mental health in the last year, I’ve been toying with the idea of a big scary goal. I found myself after work was done for the day with a few hours to kill and I’d focus on a few things here and there: writing, laundry, chores, home improvements, etc. But after all that I still had that itch at the back of my brain that told me to push harder and dig deeper to do something that would have a real impact.

So I put my name in the lottery for the NYC Marathon. And I didn’t get in. But my disappointment on drawing day when I didn’t get that acceptance email told me all I needed to know: I was ready to run.

I’ve been a supporter of Arts in the Armed Forces since 2016, when I discovered them through Star Wars press that focused on Adam Driver and his wife’s philanthropic work together in creating a nonprofit that brings contemporary theater to the military community to foster discussion and connection.

In 2019, AITAF announced that they’d become a charity partner with the NYC Marathon. I was unable to run that year because I was in a wedding the same day as the race, but my interest was PIQUED. Obviously, the marathons in 2020 and 2021 were out because of… *gestures hysterically around at the state of things* … but when I clicked onto their website and found the application this year, I bookmarked it and did the soul searching I needed to do before finally submitting myself for consideration.

I knew very well that it still wasn’t a sure thing, so I held my breath until the day I opened my email and found those beautiful words: “We’re delighted to extend an official invitation because you have been selected to join our marathon team!

The white hot elation I felt while reading the email quickly turned into searing cold fear when I realized: that means I have to RUN a MARATHON. And be PERCEIVED as I do so!

This isn’t just me running for myself anymore; this is for a cause that I care deeply about! The stakes are admittedly higher this time around, but that’s what makes it the perfect opportunity for me to see just what I can accomplish with a singular focus on a big scary goal and plenty of time to prepare.

It’s been three weeks since my acceptance email, and I’ve spent that entire time building a base and incorporating strength training back into my routine. I went from running maybe 3 times a week to 4 runs per week on a consistent schedule that includes strength and cross training. I’m even more serious about rest and recovery, and have incorporated stretching, light yoga and even salt baths into each week. It feels SO GOOD to have something to focus on and work towards, and I’m only just getting started.

I’m researching coaches and plan on bringing on some help in that department a little later in the game, and have also started fundraising, they key component to my membership on #Team AITAF. I’m already almost 1/3 of the way to my goal of $3,000 and love seeing that number climb! If you are feeling generous and want to help AITAF foster resiliency and boost morale in military communities through free artistic experiences, you can donate to my fundraising efforts here – and I will be eternally grateful.

But even if you choose not to donate, I hope that you’ll follow along here (as well as on Instagram) as I work my way back up to 26.2 for a cause that means a lot to me – if history has taught me anything, I know it’ll at least be an entertaining ride!

I’m Running the 2022 NYC Marathon for Arts in the Armed Forces!

I’ve got some BIG race news: I’m running the 2022 NYC Marathon for Adam Driver’s nonprofit, Arts in the Armed Forces!

Theater has shown me that it’s possible to turn feelings into words, and to turn those words into a language that people from all different walks of life can share. AITAF‘s mission of helping members of the military community do the same is something I care deeply about.

As a longtime AITAF donor and runner, getting to run the NYC Marathon again – this time for AITAF – is a once in a lifetime opportunity to support a cause that means so much to me by doing what I love. I can’t wait to take on 26.2 with my teammates in November!

It is an honor and a privilege to run the 2022 NYC Marathon for AITAF, but now I need your help to reach my fundraising goal! Please consider giving to this incredible cause and supporting me on my journey. Even $5 can help bring free artistic experiences to military communities, encourages an exchange of ideas across ranks and between service members and artists, and fosters resiliency, boosts morale, and builds community.

I look forward to sharing my journey to 26.2 with you all here – and I’m also now searching for a running coach with a focus on strength training and beginner runners! 😉