Taeya Gurvine

Creedence Clearwater Revival once sang:

“Take you a glass o’ water,

Make it against the law,

See how good the water tastes,

When you can’t have any at all.”

Most of us have been in a mild form of that situation at one time or another in our lives. The movie we were forbidden to see. The sold-out concert. The too-expensive shoes. But that’s just stuff. Imagine if circumstances suddenly denied you access to something that is part of your very essence. There is pain and emptiness, anger and frustration. But if you’re lucky and/or blessed, you’ll eventually have that vision.

There’s you, off in the distance, doing that thing that you might have taken for granted in the past. But now, it’s all you can think about doing, all you want to do, all you HAVE to do.

For Canyon Del Oro High School senior Taeya Gurvine, it was running. She had tried lots of sports in middle school, but by the time she arrived on the Dorado campus, she was a runner. Cross country in the brutal September sun, middle distances during track season. Running was an integral part of who she was.

Then came the medical diagnosis. Taeya had scoliosis (unnatural curvature of the spine) so severe that it would require an incredibly invasive (and quite risky) surgery. Doctors would insert two rods in her straightened spine, secured by 24 screws and wrapped up in a package by some 300 stitches! The procedure went exceptionally well, but it was so intense that when it was over, she basically had to learn how to walk again. 

“I was supposed to take it easy, doctors orders. My family participated in a Mud Run. I was supposed to just walk along, but when they weren’t looking, I would secretly run a few steps. When he found out what I had done, my surgeon actually yelled at me.” 

She chuckles.

She pushed herself and pushed herself and came back much faster than anyone thought she would have been able to. But it put a strain on her, both physically and mentally. The athlete in her wanted to just fight through the physical barriers of pain while ignoring the mental strain she was inflicting upon herself.

“I came close to burnout,” she recalls. “I now understand that it’s important to find and maintain a balance of physical and mental health. That’s my goal from now on.”

Meanwhile, the running is going well. In the first meet of the year, she shaved a whopping three minutes off her personal best time on the CDO course. After a meet next week at Sierra Vista Buena, she’ll have two more chances (in the cooler month of October) to beat her personal mark on her home course again. 

Next year, she will either attend Grand Canyon University or a college in Utah, where she will study to be a forensic psychologist. But for now, she’s running and that water, once denied to her, tastes great. 

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