‘Locked’ out: Learning to compete with a serious injury

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Camilla Bykhovsky
Sports Editor

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Running describes everything for me — my work ethic, my values and way I carry myself. In my busy day-to-day routine, it is the only time I get to reflect.
Through the twisted dirt-covered roads with roots sticking out and people screaming on the sidelines, I focus on finishing the race. I have stopped caring about my time and place and started caring about just getting through the race in the least amount of pain possible.
Starting sophomore year, I had a sharp pain in my knee that started out as bothersome, but increased with time. I was able to push through the pain for two seasons and it was bearable, but as my senior season approached and practices began to increase, so did the pain. I worked through it as much as I could, but on the day of our first race at Point Pinole — the moment the gun went off — I knew something was wrong.
Halfway through the race, my leg began to give out from under me. When I kicked my leg out straight it would lock, so I locked it until the end of the race when I crossed the line.
After that, everything was a blur. There was a throbbing sensation in my knee, it was stiff, and the pain clouded my mind. All I could focus on was the next step, talking to my coach.
Keeping my team in mind, I decided to continue running despite the risk associated. My coaches and I set up a training schedule I could complete with a minimal amount of pain so that I could push through the season. When it finished, I would get the arthroscopic surgery to fix the problem.
For the few weeks that the pain was unbearable to even walk on, I still attended every race of the season to support my teammates watching them do what I wished I could left me feeling stuck, so I decided to ignore the pain as much as possible and compete in the last three remaining races of my senior year season. My goal was to finish. Nothing more, nothing less.
During the huddle before the last race of the season, my teammates told me that this was my race to leave it on the course. With tears streaming down my cheeks, we yelled one last “Cubs!” before we lined up.
The gun went off, and all I could focus on was my last race. I gave it my all, and in the last 100 meter stretch, I held my breath and pushed through the pain that was crawling up my leg. I finished, and I was part of the scoring five.
My community is the cross-country team, and with it I have learned the most about myself. My experience as a runner has prepared me to know that tough courses are inevitable and I will not always have my best day.
As I approached the date of my surgery, my biggest fear was that it might not pan out as I had hoped. I could not imagine not having my team that I learned to rely on and fully devote myself. My team was my support system on and off the course, and I could always fall back on that.
I entered the hospital ready for surgery with a feeling of achievement that I was able to finish the season with my team. As I began to regain consciousness and recover from anesthesia, I was informed that my teammates were at my house waiting for me.
I realized that regardless of my placing for the team, I had completed one of the most painful seasons I could have encountered, but in the end, I came out stronger.

Running describes everything for me — my work ethic, my values and way I carry myself. In my busy day-to-day routine, it is the only time I get to reflect.

Through the twisted dirt-covered roads with roots sticking out and people screaming on the sidelines, I focus on finishing the race. I have stopped caring about my time and place and started caring about just getting through the race in the least amount of pain possible.

Starting sophomore year, I had a sharp pain in my knee that started out as bothersome, but increased with time. I was able to push through the pain for two seasons and it was bearable, but as my senior season approached and practices began to increase, so did the pain. I worked through it as much as I could, but on the day of our first race at Point Pinole — the moment the gun went off — I knew something was wrong.

Halfway through the race, my leg began to give out from under me. When I kicked my leg out straight it would lock, so I locked it until the end of the race when I crossed the line.

After that, everything was a blur. There was a throbbing sensation in my knee, it was stiff, and the pain clouded my mind. All I could focus on was the next step, talking to my coach.

Keeping my team in mind, I decided to continue running despite the risk associated. My coaches and I set up a training schedule I could complete with a minimal amount of pain so that I could push through the season. When it finished, I would get the arthroscopic surgery to fix the problem.

For the few weeks that the pain was unbearable to even walk on, I still attended every race of the season to support my teammates watching them do what I wished I could left me feeling stuck, so I decided to ignore the pain as much as possible and compete in the last three remaining races of my senior year season. My goal was to finish. Nothing more, nothing less.

During the huddle before the last race of the season, my teammates told me that this was my race to leave it on the course. With tears streaming down my cheeks, we yelled one last “Cubs!” before we lined up.

The gun went off, and all I could focus on was my last race. I gave it my all, and in the last 100 meter stretch, I held my breath and pushed through the pain that was crawling up my leg. I finished, and I was part of the scoring five.

My community is the cross-country team, and with it I have learned the most about myself. My experience as a runner has prepared me to know that tough courses are inevitable and I will not always have my best day.

As I approached the date of my surgery, my biggest fear was that it might not pan out as I had hoped. I could not imagine not having my team that I learned to rely on and fully devote myself. My team was my support system on and off the course, and I could always fall back on that.

I entered the hospital ready for surgery with a feeling of achievement that I was able to finish the season with my team. As I began to regain consciousness and recover from anesthesia, I was informed that my teammates were at my house waiting for me.

I realized that regardless of my placing for the team, I had completed one of the most painful seasons I could have encountered, but in the end, I came out stronger.


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