2021 Still I Run Ambassador Spotlight: Tovar Sandoval
Running for mental health
Everyone say hello to Tovar! He’s the next ambassador we’d like to spotlight this year! If you’d like to learn more about Tovar, read below and follow him on Instagram at @tovar_el. PS. Tovar has the best answer I’ve seen to the “Is a hotdog a sandwich” question.
In a few sentences, tell us about yourself
Biomedical Engineer born and raised in Mexico City. I have been living in Massachusetts since 2014 and immediately got involved with several running and endurance communities. In 2019 I started struggling with repressed memories that resurfaced and started developing anxiety and depression, in 2020 that took me to get committed to a psychiatric ward for some days. I finally reached out for help and been doing very well since. As I keep recovering I look forward to sharing my story in hopes others can know you are never alone, there are more people out there struggling, and we can help each other!
Why are you passionate about running for mental health?
I started running way before I had any mental health disorders to go through. I have always found that running helps with everything, I have never regretted going out on a run, but I have regretted missing one. Running is time with yourself, and I know sometimes being in one’s own head is very hard, but it is only in being with our own thoughts that we can recognize, dissect and change the ideas that are keeping us from being the best self we can be. Running is simple, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, just like life.
Do you have a running mantra?
Not one, but many! sometimes I like to focus on positive things, others I use mantras to block out the unpleasant thoughts like emotional distress, weather conditions in a run, or anything that would keep me from running free. “this is not hard”, “one more step”, “it is only rain” are few examples.
Where is your favorite place to run?
I love running in the mountains. Living in New England I have access to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, which is my favorite background.
What are you most proud of (running or non-running related)?
Being alive and fighting every day to live a good life. I am proud to have overcome darker times and to have the tools I need to keep moving forward with love.
Favorite running moment you’d love to re-live?
The tears of joy (and relief) when I finished my first Boston Marathon with one of my closest friends. It was a miserable day weather-wise, we ended up running in freezing rain and heavy winds wearing extra layers people handed to us. It was our first Boston for us and we would not quit! We crossed the finish line holding hands, it was pretty amazing!
What’s your favorite way to recover after a run?
In winter I like to sit in the cold until I stop “steaming” and then enjoy some rest next to my dog. In summer there is nothing like a quick hose down or dip in a river/lake after a run!
What’s one fun fact most people don’t know about you?
When I was a kid all I wanted is to be Atreyu from “The NeverEnding story”
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Tacos, any kind and all kinds.
Is a hot dog a sandwich?
A sub, maybe?