Although running has always been such a large part of my life, that hasn’t been the case for the last ~4 months. I’ve been sidelined for what seems like forever because of a tibial stress fracture and it has been really, really hard adjusting to life without my daily run(s). It all started in late June or early July. I went for a simple 8 mile run with some friends from the Stanford Running Club, chatting away some rolling hills at a leisurely pace. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until I tried to stand up after spending a couple hours studying organic chemistry. There was a sharp pain in my right shin and I could barely walk a few steps.
“Not again”, I thought, “story of my life”. Running injuries crop up every now and then, so some shin pain didn’t seem out of the ordinary. I took it easy for a couple of days, either using the elliptical or swimming laps to keep in shape, and after a week I tried running again. For some proud or illogical reason, I thought I was immune to stress fractures. I have been running for 11 years now and I’ve been at a fairly high mileage for about 8, so I convinced myself that if I was susceptible to fractures, then I would have already gotten one. Wrong.
So what did I do? I kept running. On and off for ten weeks. In retrospect, it sounds crazy that I kept running on a broken leg for over two months, but the pain was dull and completely tolerable compared to the muscle strains I’d experienced previously. I finally broke down and saw an orthopedic sports medicine doctor, who took some x-rays and had an MRI, and diagnosed me will a stress fracture on the spot.
It was hard at first, not running. This summer, I had so much on my mind–I was taking a year’s worth of organic chemistry lectures and labs crammed into 9 weeks–that I had no time to miss running. But when I graduated in September and began my job search, I had too much time on my hands. To be completely honest, I have been feeling very unproductive recently and somewhat removed from society. Running has always been my stronghold, something that makes me feel good and purposeful and accomplished. If I’ve had a bad or lazy day, well, at least I went on a run. If I’ve had a good day, well, I went on a run then too.
Fast forward to today. I have taken the last 8 weeks off from running, which is the longest period of time I’ve been away from the sport since I started it in middle school. Today, I laced up my trainers and I set out for a 20 minute run. It was slow, my lungs were burning, and I am definitely out of shape, but my legs didn’t forget how to move as I thought they would and nothing could have wiped the off my face. It’s good to be back.
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp instant coffee
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) heavy cream
- 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
- Making the cookies – Sift almond flour, granulated sugar, confectioner’s sugar, and instant coffee in a large bowl.
- In a stand mixer, beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
- Fold together the dry mixture and egg white mixture, making sure the batter remains light and airy.
- Use a pastry bag to form dots of batter that are ~1 inch in diameter on a cookie sheet. A ziploc bac with the tip cut off is an acceptable alternative to a pastry bag.
- Bake cookies at 275 F for about 30 minutes.
- Making the ganache – Heat the heavy cream and instant coffee in a small sauce pan on low. Once hot, turn off the heat and add the semi-sweet chocolate. Stir until ganache forms.
- Assembly of sandwich cookies – Once the cookies have become firm and the ganache has cooled, form sandwich cookies as shown in the pictures.