I grew up being a very active person, it helped fight my anxiety. I competed in gymnastics for years, cheered in high school and a bit in community college. I’m an avid hiker and would rock climb any crag that is bolted. Running however, was NEVER my cup of tea. I hated it. Loathed it really. The only time I remember running was the Rock N Roll half marathon in 2009 when my brother dared me (I’m competitive like that. Especially when it comes to my brothers) I was pretty sure I was going to die the entire time and for two weeks after.
In 2007 I had my first daughter, Ava and four and half years later, my second, Ella. Neither pregnancy nor recovery were easy and I certainly didn’t get that bounce back body that everyone tends to see on the cover of People magazine. I struggled with anxiety and depression after having both kids but managed to push through it with the help of my husband.
Fall of 2014 was a rough time. I had a high stress job that was making me have a high stress home life. After making the decision to leave the position, I was still struggling with extreme anxiety and depression. I needed a way to fight it, for me, it’s being physically active. Something I lost after having my girls.
As much as I had hoped I could have a career as an Olympic gymnast that opportunity flew out the window about 20 years ago! I needed to find something that schedule wise, I could change as I needed. So one night, I went for a walk. And then the next night, and the night after that…. Soon I was speed walking, and then jogging…..and all of the sudden I was RUNNING! It wasn’t far (1 mile I think) and it wasn’t fast, but I felt is sense of release. The pressure was gone, the anxiety was lightened, I was walking through the front door HAPPY! I was more patient with my two girls and husband. I secretly signed up for a 10K in February and only told my husband, mom and niece. My only goal was to finish. I was instantly hooked. I came home on that runners high and signed up for ALL THE RACES!
Being a new runner, I had no clue that the runners high didn’t happen after each race. I ran my next 5k a month later and pretty much swore off running after it. I messaged a girlfriend telling her so and she talked me through it. She mentioned I should come run with the MRTT/SRTT group. After trying to find the courage for a month to attend one; I sat in my car in the parking lot crying thinking there is no way I can run fast enough, or far enough and thinking, I’m a fraud, I’m not even a real runner. I took a deep breath and got out of my car and ended up running the furthest I’ve ran since that “dare” half marathon years before. That day gave me some of my most cherished friends. And it’s because of them that I have been able to push through some of the hard times in running. They keep me going.
My advice – find your tribe and love them hard. Because you’re going to need people who are just as crazy as you are.
Running has challenged me more mentally, emotionally and physically than I ever thought possible, but I’m a better mom, wife, friend and sister because of it. It gives me the time to collect my thoughts, fight the anxiety and it’s my ultimate self-care.
More about Brecka
I’m Brecka Erickson Estes. Wife of 12 years to Nick, mommy to Ava (9), Ella (5) and two fur babies Duff and Buster. I have a major addiction to tacos, coffee and sour patch kids. I’ve been running for two and half years and have completed 9 half marathons (finally got that sub 2 this year!), 3 Ragnars, numerous 5k’s and 10k’s.
Follow my running journey on Instagram bee_rok