And yet, running also brought heartbreak. It was 2012 and Estrada was running track for the University of Northern Arizona when his home country, Mexico, reached out to see if he would run the 10,000 meters for their team at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. For most athletes, it's a dream come true. But Estrada wasn’t so sure.
“All I wanted to do was run in the US Trials, but I knew it would be nearly impossible for me to make the US team,” he says. “I mean, I was barely cracking the top squad of my group.”
In the end, he actually ran the US qualifying standard, which he wasn’t sure he could reach. To complicate matters even more, though, there was confusion about his USATF eligibility, which prevented him from the chance to qualify for the US team.
He weighed his options. What if he could never run again? What if this was his only chance to compete on the world stage? At long last, he said yes.
“It all happened so fast,” he says. When he got to Mexico, his welcome was less than enthusiastic. People asked him if he even spoke Spanish, if he knew anything about Mexico.
“My experience at the Olympics was more emotional rollercoaster. I felt like a traitor to the country that gave me everything and I felt little pride about representing my country of birth,” he says. “I felt like I was doing wrong for both sides.”