About Me

Full Name: Jakob Conner Sandberg
Date of Birth: 03/08/1995
Height/Weight: 166cm/62kg
Location: Berkeley, CA
Hometown: Henderson, NV
Education: I’m a 3rd-year undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, studying pure and applied Mathematics
Work: I work as a Research Assistant (RA) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, doing Software Engineering for the ATLAS Experiment.
Diabetes Diagnosis: December 12, 2007

In sixth grade, around the age of 11, I began running at night as a way to deal with stress and anxiety. I found that If I pushed my body in the right way, I could (almost) guarantee a relaxed and sedated state by the time I made it back home to shower and eat. Thus, my pre-teen self developed an emotional relationship with running as a means of emotional stability. Just over a year into this “relationship”, I found myself in the hospital diagnosed with type one diabetes. This required a lot of adjustments to my lifestyle, and thus I put running on hold until I went to San Juan Hills High School in Orange County, CA. Once there, I discovered competitive endurance sports in the form of track running and cross country. These experiences developed the basis of who I am today, as an athlete.

Running the 1600m (1 mile) in a 2011 high school track meet

Although most of my progression as an athlete has occurred since my diabetes diagnosis, I truly fell in love with the sport of running prior to the discovery of this chronic condition. I think this fact is crucial in my personal development as an athlete: I have never looked at myself as “an athlete with diabetes”, I have always kept the two apart; thus, I have always seen myself as “an athlete who happens to have diabetes”. It is obvious that type one diabetes plays a huge role logistically in my training and racing, though I have never looked at it as an athletic inhibitor. I think this is a large part of my drive to be the best athlete I can, as I do not look at my diabetes as a barrier; in fact, my athletic endeavors have done nothing but improve my diabetes management, and with that comes maximized performance (relative to a non-diabetic).

Throughout highschool, my biggest struggle was finding a way to balance competitive performances while still managing my diabetes. By the time I started looking at and applying for colleges, I had developed most of the knowledge required to balance these two, though it is certainly a never-ending process of learning about your body. Around the same time, running injuries had introduced me to competitive cycling (and subsequently, swimming), where I began to develop my current passion for mutli-sport endurance events (e.g. triathlon). I competed in my first triathlon in 2012, and almost instantly fell in love with the sport.

May 2013, after committing to attend UC Berkeley!

My first two years in the sport involved a fair dose of training and racing, simply to get my feet wet and to see what I was getting myself into. Although I was certainly trying to get as fast as possible, time constraints alone limited much of my potential, particularly in swimming and cycling. In this period (2012-2013), I went through a ton of changes. I formally un-enrolled from highschool and subsequently enrolled full-time in community (2-year) college, where I immediately took on some pretty absurd course loads. During this time I also moved out on my own, just after I turned 17. Through thousands of hours of hard work, I put together a solid application and was admitted to the University of California, Berkeley, which is often regarded as the best public school in the world. Upon admission, I got a full-time job over the summer (working an average of 50 hours/week) to pay for my travel to Berkeley and my initial deposit/rent at the Chi Psi “Lodge”, where I currently reside today.

For any updates since I’ve been to Berkeley, please check out my new post: Personal Update: What I’ve been up to.