In Washington D.C., Polish au pair Martyna has become a true member of the American community. Since arriving in the United States, Martyna discovered a passion for running – a passion she shares with people around the world. Thanks to her host family’s support throughout her journey, she expanded her cultural horizons by joining this inspiring, global community.
From barely jogging in January to training for the NYC Marathon this Sunday, Martyna shares her story:
It’s THE week. I’ve been waiting for this week since few months ago and it’s finally here. I’ve had mixed feelings from the very beginning and I still have. I am super excited and also petrified. I actually have never thought that I would be even aiming to do that, and yet here I am, only few days before New York city marathon. My very first marathon that I am going to run happens to be THE marathon that everyone wants to participate in.
How does it feel? Well, overwhelming, that’s for sure. I’ve been running only since January this year. I’ve had some experience with jogging before, but nothing too serious. I remember when I run 10k for the first time in my life and thought that I could never do more than that.
But somehow along with New Year’s resolutions I started short jogs, then they developed into a bit longer runs, and then I started really enjoying much longer runs. Still, I would never think of doing a marathon if not for Au Pair in America.
One day I got a message that our organizations will give out 5 spots at a race. I considered it for a day or two and decided that it would be a great goal to achieve – and that was the moment when I started a proper training. Later that month I ran my first half-marathon and few other runs. The critical moment was when I participated in 75-mile charity non-stop walk and sprained my foot at the very end of walk (around 72nd mile). It threw me out of training for few weeks and I had to start everything from the very beginning.
At that time, I lived in London and training was completely different. I was working in the office, so usually I had a whole day to wake up and train in the evening. Also, the area where I used to run was pretty much flat and I could feel any kind of up or down since it was so unusual to happen.
When I moved to D.C. to become an au pair, I faced few challenges that I was kind of expecting but wasn’t really prepared for it. First of all, I couldn’t run in the evenings anymore since I spent them with my host siblings. I had to start training during the day, which hasn’t always been easy as I try to wake up for most of the morning and half of afternoon. Then what not a lot of people realize is how hilly some parts of the capital are. There are loads of ups and loads of downs and some of them are very steep. I had to learn how to run in a completely different way and the fact that I came here in July, which means endless heat and 98% of humidity, well that didn’t help.
At the end of the day, though, the fact that I didn’t give up I owe only to my host family. They’ve been sending me off for trainings even when I didn’t feel like it. Sometimes I didn’t finish what I was supposed to do, and they told me to go anyway. They understood how important it was for me and I could see how proud they were (and hopefully still are) that I was taking on such a huge project. They also cheered me and drove me to all early starting races I participated in in D.C. I have never heard from my host parents that they are not happy with me going training or racing. Usually they are the ones pushing me to go, even if I’m tired and would rather stay in bed. But knowing that they are excited about me racing gives me some kind of motivation and need to make them proud.
What I also discovered is how participating in races makes me a part of the American community. Some of these events are charity, so it’s always a good way to help others. Also, it opens me up to things that are happening around my area and makes me want to be involved in my local community’s social life. Also it makes me interested in events organized all over the USA and I always keep on searching new ideas for racing or something similar to it, so that way my knowledge about what this country has to offer is growing every single day. Plus, it’s so much fun and a great way to meet new people!
So far I’ve run in 3 races. Two of them were the 2018 Georgetown Half Marathon and the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon in D.C. They were kind of my way of checking in on how I’m doing with long distances, and both were very successful. I hope that the New York City Marathon will give me the same feeling of pride and belonging to this amazing community of runners.
It’s not always easy to train for a marathon. But training is like working with children. If you can’t do one specific thing you were going to, you just need to find a way around it. Usually children are happy about any activity you come up with. The same with your body. If you can’t run, go swimming. If you can’t climb, go running. It’s not always about climbing mile stones. Sometimes it’s enough to move and do something fun and easy. The most important thing is to keep yourself going.
Just the thought that I can identify myself as a runner is great and I can’t wait until I will be able to say that I am a marathon runner! I’ve been moving quite a lot since I finished high school and sometimes it’s really difficult to move to a completely different place where I don’t know anyone – but running is universal. Anywhere in the world I go and start running, people appreciate it, cheer me on and there is always someone who’d join me. It makes me feel like a part of something greater wherever I am at that moment.
At this moment I am kind of afraid that I won’t be able to run that 26.2 miles and that I will disappoint all the people who are counting on me. But then I tell myself: “Hey, you still have Charleston!” That’s right, I’m already signed up for a next marathon in Charleston, South Carolina in January.
I think this style of life sets up a great example for my host siblings, for my friends and family. As I said it connects me with an amazing worldwide community! So, I feel like because of that my au pair experience is so much better. Plus, it gets me out of bed on Sunday morning at 6:00 AM to get to the start line.
I don’t think I will ever be able to describe how running has changed my life. So, instead of that, I will enjoy it as much as I can and encourage everyone to do it with me.
Are you interested in hosting an inspiring au pair like Martyna? Learn more about hosting an au pair with Au Pair in America today!