5K CC: 20:50.3
The Chambers are an athletic family known throughout Minnesota for their volleyball prominence. I imagine that they were inspirational to you in your return to sports. Who else played a big role in that process?
My sisters Kelsey and Brittany were volleyball, basketball, and track & field athletes and school record holders at Jordan. They both have played a very supportive role as they've encouraged me along the way. Her mom, Colleen, is also very supportive of my running and was a former assistant coach for track. When I was younger, Gabriele Grunewald came and talked to our team at a summer camp just prior to leaving for the Olympics. I followed Gabriele's progress very closely and I admire the comebacks she has been able to make.
You made it to the State Championships twice in the 1600 meter run. You did this despite having to recover from three separate knee injuries. How did you do that?
Maybe it would be easier if I laid it out chronologically:
- After my 8th grade school year, I tore my right ACL in a summer basketball game. This recovery process took about 8 months.
- My freshman year I sat out volleyball and basketball because I was still recovering from my first knee surgery to my right ACL. My freshman year I participated in track and made it to state track in the 1600 meter run in which I placed 14th.
- My sophomore year I participated in volleyball (she made the all-conference team!) and then in basketball I tore my left ACL. This recovery process was again about 8 months. Because I was still recovering by track season, I could not run track my sophomore year.
- After sophomore year, I had an additional surgery to remove scar tissue from my left knee. This was causing a lot of range of motion issues in which I could not fully straighten or bend the left knee. This took about 3-4 months to recover.
- Junior year I joined cross country for the first time because I could no longer play basketball and volleyball because of recurring knee issues. I participated in cross country, but then after the season, I realized that my left knee was still not recovered fully from scar tissue surgery; therefore I had to return to physical therapy where I gained back range of motion, and was able to improve the strength in my knees.
This is where I worked the most on three dimensional physical therapy work which may have been the most important part of the recovery process. (This included one legged squats and jumps. I also did full body exercises often with many repetitions of only body weight.) This took another 4 months of rehab.
(Photo provided by Lexie Chambers)
What did doctors and physical therapists have you doing to rehab your knees?
1) During all of my recovery processes, I spent a lot of time swimming and biking almost everyday. This way I could keep up my endurance while putting little stress on my healing knee.
2) I also spent countless hours doing physical therapy, whether at home, in the gym, or during study hall in the locker room. I had to do this so I could gain back full range of motion in my knee and so my knee did not gain scar tissue.
3) Once I gained back my range of motion and strength through exercises, I started a run/walk program through TRIA Orthopaedic Center. We used the treadmill at times. Everyday I increased the running with fewer walk breaks.
4) Once I finished that program, I could basically run with the team. Some of the runs were still held back for me though. The majority of the runs that I was held back from were the long runs because my knee could not handle the impact of running for that long.
5) After many of my runs, the knee would swell up. I managed this swelling by continuing to ice my knees at night and doing exercises. I also wore a brace to bed a lot. This helped so I did not wake up the next morning to an overly stiff knee.
This recovery process was basically the same for all of my surgeries.
After coming back to sports after knee injuries, I was determined more than ever. Sitting out of a sport (track) that I love for so long killed me. As soon as I could run even a little bit, I was doing it. It was hard to sit out of sports, but in the end it has helped me to gain a stronger love for the sport. It has also made me that so much stronger, mentally and physically. I gained a lot of muscle in my legs from the recovery process. It also made the success that much sweeter.
What honors did you attain as a high school student?
Academically, I had a 3.92 grade point average, and I was a member of the Student Council and Student Council President for two years. I was also a member of the Spanish Club. Also, I competed with the Speech Team in Great Speeches for the past three years. I qualified for the state speech meet the past two years and was awarded the Triple A Award for speech in 2017 (which was a great and rare honor!). Athletically, I participated in volleyball in freshman, sophomore years; played basketball freshman year; ran track all four years; ran cross country the past two years. I made the All-Conference Team in volleyball my sophomore year.
Have you decided where you are going to college?