Los Osos resident Jessica Sandoval will run the LA Marathon for the second time on March 20.
A Los Osos woman will lace up her shoes and hit the streets on March 20 to compete in what is considered one of the biggest footraces in the world — the Los Angeles Marathon.
Jessica Sandoval started running about five years ago when she says she was going through an undiagnosed postpartum depression.
“I found it to be a safe place to be and feel like myself,” said the 38-year-old. “After that, it became a passion of mine knowing all the benefits it was bringing to my life. I was being a better partner, parent, co-worker and woman in general on top of being a role model to those around me by putting health and fitness in the spotlight as a priority. I don’t do it to be skinny, I do it to live a full life and enjoy all that is in it.”
About four months ago, Jessica started a16-week program, running a little over 400 miles to prepare for the 26.2 marathon distance. In addition to the physical endurance, the training was an opportunity to work on time management and discipline.
Jessica will join an expected 13,000 runners, from 50 nations and all 50 states, but she might be the only one who can thank tamales for getting her there. To pay for the cost of the race entry and use of the hospitality tent, which totals a little over $350, she sold 21 dozen homemade tamales.
“I was able to raise $400 after taking out my expenses to make them,” said Jessica.
Out of her running shoes, Jessica is a substitute English learner aide and paraeducator sub for Baywood Elementary, and she recently started a private practice as a life coach.
She has used her love of running to give back to the community. In November of 2020, she initiated a fundraiser for Baywood Elementary School. She and three of her friends raised more than $1200 for the PTA, which was unable to do the traditional fundraising due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“When I created the fundraiser for Baywood, many people got involved in supporting the cause and having fun watching me run on LOVR repeatedly during my trainings,” Jessica said. “Some would honk, others would shine their bright lights to say ‘hi.’ I love the community we live in and how we all have come together to help where we can, to keep us united. I feel the love and encouragement with my running all the time, and it shows in every encounter I have with anyone from our community.”
L.A. will be Jessica’s fourth full-marathon after only five years of pounding the pavement.
“I love how it centers me with being focused and disciplined,” Jessica said. “Plus, it allows me to put priority into self-care and that is very important to me, being able to keep that balance with life, family work and myself.”
She has also competed in other local races that are significantly shorter than the 26.2-mile marathon including City to Sea Half Marathon in SLO County, Rock around the Pier Half Marathon in Morro Bay, the Wine Country Half Marathon in Paso Robles, the SLO Half Marathon, and the SLO Triathlon. Her fastest time to date was her first one, the SLO Marathon, at 4 hours and 52 minutes.
For some of us, running around the block would feel like a lifetime. What does the mind and body do when in motion for several hours at a time?
“It starts with just listening to music, then for the first two or three miles convincing my body that what I feel is not pain,” Jessica said. “Its a fun brain game, my brain telling me this is hard. After mile three, I start really getting into it and get lost in thoughts of what is happening in my life, my head starts wondering to planning or processing actions I have taken or plan to take. At mile eight, I hit the endorphin zone, and I just feel free, happy and strong. Then I start to focus again on the music and do the cycle all over again as many times as needed depending on the distance.”
When she crosses the finish line, Jessica already knows what she is going to do
“The first thing is I go for a cold beer,” she said laughing. After that, her routine is to take what she says is a painful 20-minute ice bath while rehydrating. That is followed a protein shake and normally a two hour nap.
She says her work as a life couch and running are a good fit.
“Some people come to coaching to find the tools to achieve goals that have been hard to reach. I have had coaching in my life for the past 15 years and have learned to use all the tools in all aspects of my life. Knowing what my life purpose is, honoring my values, holding focus on what is really important for me, having awareness of what can be changed, looking at life with different perspectives and mastering time management have been the main tools the coaching has taught me and helped me be successful on my running journey.”
L.A. Marathon participants will start at Dodger Stadium passing through some of Los Angeles’ most iconic areas Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Little Tokyo, Pantages Theater and Rodeo Drive. It finishes on the Avenue of the Stars in Century City.
For information about her life coach services, email Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org.