Why I Run: Christy Estep Davis

Christy rockin' her first half marathon last October.

I remember so vividly meeting Christy Estep Davis, a mother of toddler boy-girl twins, at the Girlfriends’ Half  expo, the second time we had met at a race. She walked up to the table, and she started to cry before she could get out any words. Despite my stern exterior, I cry easily, so my own waterworks started flowing as I immediately went over to embrace her. As you’ll read, Christy had been through the ringer the past few years—but now she’s training for a marathon. ~ SBS

After years of battling unexplained infertility, my husband and I finally decided to try IVF. We couldn’t have felt more happy or blessed than when we found out we were having boy/girl twins. Our little ones made their shining debut into this world 6 weeks early, but after a month in the hospital, we were finally home with no complications.

For years during the fertility treatments, I had felt that my body had not been my own; I was okay with that. My hormones were all over the place. I had put on 30 to 35 pounds before I even got pregnant, then another 45 with my pregnancy. So finally when my twins were three months old, I was more than ready to regain control of my body and feel comfortable in my own skin. That was December, and I signed up for a 5K in March.

I’m not going to sugarcoat how I felt the first time I ran on the treadmill: I thought my vagina was going to collapse and all of my lady-parts were going to fall out. It wasn’t pretty, and I never wanted to do it again. But I did it again…and again…and again. Before I knew it, it was February, and I was changing my race event from 5K to 8K. I was pumped (and I rocked that 8K in 48 minutes, by the way.)

Later that spring, I continued to run shorter races, but didn’t know whether or not I wanted to progress beyond that point. I had two cherub-faced infants to tend to, and life was finally starting to feel somewhat normal. A family member had recommended Run Like a Mother to me after we did a 5K over Memorial weekend, where she quickly run to the booth at the expo eager to meet Sarah Bowen Shea. I got a copy of the book the next week, and I really did plan on reading it…soon…eventually when my kids were not so much work…when I got a vacation…maybe in the bathroom…you know how that goes. (Insert sheepish grin here!)

Christy and her family after the Trail of Hope walk/run.

Then everything changed: My whole world was turned upside down when my husband (who was just about to turn 29) was diagnosed with stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in early June of last year. I was terrified, devastated, and beside myself. We had two nine-month-old babies. Bad news never has good timing, but this was horrible. I soon realized I needed to pull my business together. He was set to have at least six months of chemotherapy, followed by radiation. I had to figure out a way to be by his side, take care of my children, and not lose my own mind. So I signed up for my first half-marathon and threw myself into my training.

People thought I was truly crazy. On a regular basis, people asked: “Honey, are you sure this is the best time for that?” The truth is I had never been surer of anything in my life. I read RLAM over a three-day period and clung to every word during the following months. I used the support of the “tribe” on Facebook to whine to, brag to, cry to, and just make me laugh when I really needed it. I became a runner--a hardcore badass mother runner with baby twins and a husband with cancer.

I ran the race last October in 2:05, which I’m super proud of as my first half-marathon time, but anxious now to get it under that darn two-hour mark. I got to meet SBS again, but this time I could hardly talk to her because I couldn’t stop crying. I felt like such a blubbering idiot--I had so much to say, but I was just so overcome with gratitude and emotion. Running had been my saving grace and these women, this community was such a huge part of that journey, and words simply could not express how thankful I was.

I’m a lifer: I am now training to run the Portland Marathon this fall! We live in eastern Oregon, where the weather is harsh and the resources are scarce. I had so many women, especially so many mothers, asking me about running, and I wanted to create a platform of support for women here. So I started a running club in my community, Harney County Mother Runners. We have more than 50 members, are doing group runs every Saturday, and have teams created for three different races already this summer. I am in awe of these ladies. It is hard to try something new, but we women, we kick ass, truly.

My husband is in remission now, and our twins are almost two. We are trying to find our new normal, but a huge part of our family’s routine is making sure mama gets her runs in. When people ask me how long or how far I plan on running, my only response is, “as long and as far as I can.” I plan on pushing my own limitations until there is no push left in me--and bringing along anyone who is willing for the ride.

14 responses to “Why I Run: Christy Estep Davis

  1. So proud of you Christy, in so many ways! In awe of you most of the time, truly. Finally, so blessed and thankful to have you in my life-you are one of a kind!

  2. Wow-thanks for the encouragement everyone. Life is crazy and unpredicable, but so wonderful. We are blessed and so thankful for one another and the ability to RUN! 🙂

  3. Christy, I have to say that I skipped down to see what the end of the story was … before I could read the middle of your story.

    Love you for running, as far and as long as you possibly can. You go, girl.

    (and isn’t SBS awesome … and that Dimity chick too!!!)

  4. Christy, I am so glad to have read your story. You are amazing! And just a note of encouragement for you and your husband, at eighteen years old, I was diagnosed with Stage IV-A Hodgkins Disease (that’s what they called it in the olden days!) and have been in remission for 24 years! I had chemo treatments twice a month for a year, but no radiation. I was told even then that if you’re going to get cancer, that’s the one to get because the cure rates are so high, and I’m sure they’re higher now. Many blessings to you and your family!

  5. You will continue to be the best mother & wife you could possibly be…..just by running!It creates a balance in your Life even when other things are out of your control.As women it helps us even out those emotions that can completely overwhelm you in TIMES OF STRESS!May you continue to stay strong & inspire others to Run the Race called LIFE! Its heartwarming to hear stories such as yours!

  6. Oh, Sister! I am so happy to hear that your husband is in remission! Those are some pretty sweet words to hear! Having cancer crash into your family is not a fun thing, but I am so inspired with how you stuck to running through it all. I am a 9 year thyroid cancer and 2 year cervical cancer Survivor and recently learned my thyroid cancer is back. Running has been my life line, I know I wouldn’t be the mom I am today without it. Thank you very much for sharing your story with the tribe!

  7. Oh my goodness, Christy! I just want to hug you and give you a big high five! I am SO impressed and and moved by your story — and teary-eyed as I type this. May your world only be filled with happiness and good health and many, many peaceful miles from here on out….

  8. Awesome Christy way to go. It was my own mother’s cancer struggle that had me lace my running shoes again after years of abandonment. I too so bad want to break that 2 hour mark at a half best time for me yet is 2 hrs and 2 minutes. I was so happy to PR but so mad at that 2 stinking minutes!!!!

  9. I could really relate to this and needed to hear that I am not alone in the post infertility back to running phase 🙂 I too went into a pregnancy with the dreaded extra IF weight and am now trying to fight my way back into the world of running despite all of the jiggly bits. You and your family are an inspiration- best of luck on the marathon!

  10. What an amazing story! Wishing you many more miles, Christy, good health for your husband, and blessings for your family.

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