I got into the NYC Marathon!

It already has!

I was just finishing my dinner when my email dinged – I checked and my stomach dropped – I got into the NYC marathon lottery!  Hooooooo boy…  I did not see that coming.

 

First, apologies for the incredibly long break in posting.  I still can’t run due to injury, so I haven’t been in the running mindset, so this blog has been gathering as much dust as my running shoes.  I was going to write a post about what I have been doing besides running, but I kept putting that off because, well, it is profoundly uninteresting.  I’ve been resting a lot, and walking a little, and just started rowing and going to the gym again, but then I played tourist in this beautiful weather we’ve been having and overdid it, compressing my ankle and causing pain and swelling, helping keep my PT busy and my running shoes dusty.

 

On a lark, I applied for the NYC Marathon lottery two weeks ago – the last day they accepted applications.  The odds of a local resident getting selected for the lottery were only about 23%.  Well, apparently I am one of the 23%, because I got in!  (You might remember I was only 2 races away from qualifying last year, but I couldn’t make it because of the injury.)

 

I really didn’t think I’d get selected, and I was okay with that.  I still can’t even run a block, so the idea of running a marathon seems farfetched.  But I also rationalized that if I did get in, it might be a good way to test the waters – I ran the NYC Marathon in 2005 (good lord, has it really already been 12 years?!), so there would be no pressure to finish for my 50 States quest, plus it’s a local race so I wouldn’t have the added expense and stress of travel and hotel.  But now I’m realizing it’s only 8 months away, which seems so so so very soon to learn how to run 26.2 miles.

It’s making my stomach do flips, that’s for sure.

 

So, I just won probably the worst lottery in the world and I paid $255 for the privilege.  As the immortal Forrest Gump(‘s momma) said, “stupid is as stupid does.”  I guess I’m back to being a stupid runner, even without the running!  Huzzah!

 

Did you get into the 2017 NYC Marathon?  Have you ever won any sort of lottery or prize?  How much would you pay to not have to run the NYC Marathon?  Share in the comments!

2016 Year in Review

It feels like I have more range of motion now, but the photos don’t really show it…

There’s a bit of poetic symmetry (is that a thing?) in that 2015 was the best year ever and 2016 was the worst.  If you’ve been living in the woods this year and missed all the happenings, first, I’m jealous, and second, you can watch this trailer to catch up on what 2016 was like:

That was basically my year, but throw in a sprained ankle, a broken fibula, multiple weeks on crutches (spread across multiple months), multiple weeks in a aircast boot, a cortisone shot deep into my joint, and general declining health and a total loss of fitness, and that’s my 2016.

 

Before my injury, I was doing almost a marathon per month (the Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson, the Little Rock Marathon in Arkansas, the Garmin Marathon in Olathe, Kansas, and the Delaware Marathon in Wilmington), and I was convinced that 2016 would be the “Year of Ugly Medals.”  Sadly, it just became the “Year of Ugly.”

 

I still don’t know when (if?!) I’ll ever run again, let alone run a marathon.  But I really, really, really, truly, madly, deeply hope that 2017 is better than 2016.  It isn’t a high bar, but if 2016 has taught me anything, it’s that almost anything horrible can happen.  🙁

 

Luckily, there are only a couple more days left in 2016 (plus one extra leap second), and poetic symmetry (it’s now a thing) indicates 2017 will be a good year.  I wish all of you health and happiness and health in the New Year!  (Health twice because it’s so important.)

 

How was your 2016?  Are you super glad it’s almost over?  Did you make any resolutions for the New Year?  Share in the comments!

Gift Guide for Runners Who Can’t – 2016

Get well soon bitmoji

Holiday gift guides for runners are as ubiquitous as Christmas Carols after Thanksgiving… and generally about as unique.  Heck, even my guide from 2013 is pretty standard (cough boring cough cough).  In 2014 I focused on cheaper “dupes,” and in 2015 I tried to highlight more unusual offerings, but generally it’s always been a gift guide for active runners, or for people who at least pretend they’re going to run sometime.  Soon.  Maybe after New Year’s.

 

But what about all those bajillions of runners who get injured and can’t run?  I know you’re out there, and I know you still like junk, so this year, 2016 (The Worst Year EverTM), I’m offering a gift guide for the runner who can’t.  (Specifically for the runner who can’t run, but maybe also who just can’t in general.)

 

fracture cast boot shoe coverA Darco Shoe ($9.50 to $20).  Or an Aircast Boot ($65 to $75).  Or a cover to keep the germies off their floor (tall ($29) or short ($10)). Your (severely) injured runner probably already has at least one of these items prescribed to them by a doctor, but they might want an extra to wear inside, or at the very least they’ll want a foot cover thing to wear inside so they don’t track all the grossness from the outside world into their private cocoon fortress of rehabilitation (aka their tiny apartment).  An extra canister of Lysol wipes might also be appreciated.

 

 

hbo-netflix-hulu-amazonA subscription to Netflix, or HBO NOW, Amazon, or Hulu (Varies, generally about $8 to $15/month).  Because right now TV is their best friend, after you for getting them more TV.

 

 

 

Calm meditation backgroundA subscription to meditation apps like Headspace ($95/year with chocolate) or Calm ($60/year).  They might need this even more than the TV.  For what it’s worth, I’ve only tried the free trial of both apps and prefer the woman’s voice in Calm infinitely more than the man’s voice on Headspace, but online reviews say Headspace offers more comprehensive guided meditations (and comes with chocolate).  So, I’d say try the free versions and see which you (or they) prefer, or maybe they’re hardcore and can stick to a meditation program without hand-holding apps.

 

 

couch tableA couch table ($20) or remote control holder ($13).  If your injured runner is literally stuck on the couch all day, they will create a little nest of items they need within reach.  Help them feather this weird little nest of snacks and tissues and magazines and lip balm with this sad table and/or couch pouch.  What’s even sadder?  Those cookies don’t come with that table.

 

 

 

cashmere-travel-wrap-in-greyAn expensive cashmere travel wrap from White & Warren ($209 to $350).  A runner definitely couldn’t or shouldn’t run in this, but it would go great with their couch and some ice cream.  (It’s also great for flights to all their future races when they’re better, or to wrap up in when they need a cozy nap after long runs.  It’s also unisex!  And it comes in many, many colors!  Have I convinced you yet that this scarf/blanket is worth $300?  No?  Well then, fleece blankets are on sale at Old Navy for $5, normally a whopping $10.)

 

 

 

adidas superstars

Adidas Superstars ($80) or other fashion sneakers (varies).  Runners have soooo many pairs of running shoes.  The interwebs and the KardashianHadids tell me sneakers have become fashionable, but only the cute impractical sneakers, not Frankensteinen Hoka One Ones.  I always feel a little guilty buying sneakers I can’t run in, since I already own so many sneakers and it’s a waste if they’re not functional, right?  But if your runner can’t run, it doesn’t matter! Get them some fun fashion sneakers that are not appropriate for running and they can finally enjoy them guilt and run-free.

 

 

betsey johnson pom pom glovesBetsey Johnson Pom Pom Gloves. (At Macy’s, regularly $32, on sale for $22.40, with code “FRIEND” only $15.68!) These aren’t running gloves, and look like they’d be quite impractical for running or even life in general if you ever want to put your hands in your pockets or keep your fingertips warm, but damn do they appeal to the 14-year-old girl in me.  The male equivalent would be… what?  I’m not sure, but probably these.

 

 

vrai-oro-trillian-diamond-necklaceDainty gold jewelry from Stone & Strand or Vrai & Oro (Varies, $50 to $$$).  I mean, one could run in it, but it looks better while not running so people can admire it for longer.

 

 

 

secure double walled electric kettleTea and Sympathy (Free, almost).  While I didn’t love talking about my injury, I did appreciate it when friends would check in, and I appreciated it even more when they’d stop by my prison cell apartment or made plans to see me that I could handle (e.g. at a nearby bar or restaurant, or planned an activity where I didn’t have to walk – like sitting on a park bench listening to a podcast together, or going to a movie theater with full reclining seats).  Even just encouraging your injured runner to crutch around the block if they’ve been inside all day will help them shake off the funk of watching TV nonstop and worrying they’ll never run again.  I have to say that those outings were the best presents I received this year, even if they weren’t intended as presents.  If you literally want tea and are in the market for a water boiler (aka “kettle”), I really like this one from Amazon.  It’s lined in stainless steel (thus avoiding any plastic taste or fear of shattered glass), boils quickly, and is only $32.  You deserve the upgrade for being such a good friend.

 

What do I want for Christmas 2016?  A non-broken ankle, a non-ruined body, and the last 8 months of my life back.  Not possible?  Then I guess chocolate.  Or that cute guy from PT.

 

What do you buy yourself when you’re injured?  What’s the best present you gave or received this year?  What do you want for Christmas?  Share in the comments!

Rocket City Marathon Video from 2015

A big expo for a small race!

A big expo for a small race!

The Rocket City Marathon is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this weekend, and while of course I won’t be there, I did run it last year and wrote about it here.  I also made this video back then.  I meant to post it ages ago but I was somehow still too shy to post a public video to YouTube.  For some reason, I’m over that now, so here it is!

 

It’s about 2 minutes long and I used a GoPro template, keeping the “GoPro” tags at the beginning and end as a joke since nothing in the video is extreme (except for the dunk into the fish pond where I risked catching salmonella from all the duck poop).

 

 

I hadn’t watched it since last year, and it was a fun/painful reminder of healthier times (although I didn’t do particularly well at that race).  It’s also an embarrassing reminder of how little I’ve used my GoPro since then, both because I haven’t done anything GoPro-worthy and because I find taking footage and then editing it to be exceedingly time consuming and difficult for me.

 

I wish all the runners this year luck and good weather, and I’m sorry to hear they switched the venue of the pasta dinner from the space center to the art museum, because honestly that was the best part of the whole race!

 

Have you ever made a GoPro video?  Do your videos tend to end up in a black hole on your computer?  What’s your favorite online video?  Share in the comments!

The Ankle Injury Continues

Mini nightmare on a sterile drape.

Mini nightmare on a sterile drape.

I haven’t been writing much here because there’s not much to say since I’m not running, and what there is to say just depresses me so I just don’t bother.  For those just tuning in, I sprained/broke my ankle on May 14th, 2016, and am still dealing with it now in December.  There have been a few new developments since my last update, so here they are:

 

  1. I stayed in the boot for 5 full weeks before going back to the doctors at HSS for a follow-up appointment.  My entire right side is now atrophied, and I basically forgot how to walk.
  2. At my follow-up, I got a cortisone injection (!) in my ankle.  It’s the first time I’ve ever gotten a cortisone shot.  As a needle-phobe, it wasn’t fun, mostly because my mind kept replaying how they explained the procedure – the doctor would “manipulate the joint and hold it in place” while the assistant would “drive the needle deep into the joint to inject the fluid.”  Yipes.  My ankle felt really bloated and stiff after the injection, and as soon as the painkiller wore off it started to really hurt the rest of the evening, but after about 9 hours the pain started to diminish and after a few days I felt like it was about what it was like before I ever got the injection.  So… meh?
  3. But in the weeks since I haven’t had my nightly swelling!  So ultimately I think it helped!  (I still have an overall thickness in my injured ankle that might never go away – yep, I officially have a cankle.)  And I know cortisone shots wear off, but the doctor said it might be the only thing I need to get back to normal… Yeah, it doesn’t make total sense to me, either, but in this one case I hope the doctor is right.  Otherwise he said I could get surgery to remove the scar tissue, but ugh I hope I don’t need that.
  4. I stopped wearing the boot after the injection, and have finally started walking around the city a bit.  The first time I rode the subway to midtown and ran some errands I felt like I had just been released from jail.  There were some snowflakes in the air and I bought chocolates and a hot cup of meatballs from a meatball shop and it was like the greatest moment of my life.
  5. I just started my third (!) round of PT with yet another physical therapist.  This place doesn’t take my insurance so I’m paying a bajillion dollars out-of-pocket for the therapy, but it’s more private and you get one-on-one attention for each 45 minute session (vs Professional PT where it was an open free-for-all).  It’s not as convenient as Professional and there aren’t any cute guys there, but I think the therapist is good and I hope she can fix my broken and withered flabby body.
  6. I missed my 6th marathon yesterday (the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon), and it was the last marathon (and race) that I had signed up for before my injury.  So now I have nothing on my calendar, which is good and bad.  Good that I won’t be missing any more races I pre-paid for, bad that I don’t know when (if?!?) I’ll ever get back to running.  I’m also feeling disturbingly ambivalent about running.  A part of me still wants to get right back to it, but a new part of me is really just meh and blah about the whole thing.  It just seems like so much work!  And I’m so tired.  And doing nothing is so easy.  (And I do mean nothing.  I’m not even cross-training right now.)  I totally get the whole non-running culture now.  Bring on the meatballs.

 

How was your fall running season?  What have I missed in the world of running recently?  Are you excited for the Westworld season finale tonight, or are you more devastated that it means no more Westworld for a long time?  Share in the comments!

Broken Ankle Update & So Many Cancellations

I'm Breakable Kimmy Schmidt. :(

I’m Breakable Kimmy Schmidt. 🙁

Since my last ankle hell update wherein I learned from my MRI that I’ve had a broken fibula for the past 6 months, I spoke with my new orthopedic doctor and visited a new physical therapist at Columbia.  I’m not 100% thrilled with the advice of either one and I have more questions that I’ll try to get answered next week.  In a nutshell, I’m broken and not healing and life sucks.

 

The doctor said I didn’t have to wear a boot or use crutches, despite my leg still being broken after 6 months.  She said I only had to wear that little Darco shoe that didn’t protect my ankle at all.  That seemed wrong to me, and since I continued to have pain, I put myself back in the boot and on crutches to take the weight off and give the bone time to heal.  Going back on crutches has been maddening, yes, but honestly the last 6 months have been such a nightmare, what’s another 6 weeks of hell?  She did prescribe physical therapy that included ultrasound stimulation, and said I could bear weight as tolerated.

 

I got a second opinion from my new physical therapist and he agreed with me that I should stay in the boot and on crutches for now.  He said this weekend I could start using a single crutch to give the bone a little bit of weight to promote bone formation, as it’ll have been 2 weeks since I took the weight off by putting myself on my boot/crutch regimen.  He also pointed out my fracture on my X-rays – YES, that’s right, the doctor (from the Hospital of Special Surgery, no less!) should have known immediately from the X-rays that my ankle was broken.  It’s truly astonishing the incompetency I’ve encountered in this debacle.

 

However, he disagreed with the ultrasound stimulation prescription, claiming it’s contra-indicated for fractures.  This led me down a google-hole of research on ultrasound & electrical stimulation for nonunion or delayed union fractures (aka any fracture that hasn’t healed in over 6 months, like mine).  It appears that contrary to being a contra-indication, ultrasound stimulation (or, even more so, electrical stimulation) is a well-established therapy for nonunion fractures.  Unfortunately it’s not a magic cure-all, and it seems like many nonunion fractures do end up needing surgery.  However, since surgery comes with all sorts of other risks and pain, I’m planning on trying every possible non-surgical therapy I can and using surgery only as a last resort.  Also, since the prospect of ankle surgery truly freaks me out (and not in a fun Halloween way), I’m trying not to dwell on it as much as possible.  Surgery!

 

Overall, I’m still totally dissatisfied by the incompetent medical care I’ve been receiving, from the initial orthopedist to the doctors at Hospital for Special Surgery to my various physical therapists.  No one has caught on to anything, and it’s forcing me to be my own doctor, which is outrageous and frustrating and ridiculous and maddening.  Sadly, I am learning an important lesson – don’t trust doctors with your well-being, let alone your life.  I dread the day when I’m sick and even more mentally incapacitated than I am now, because I won’t be able to spend hours on google reading articles and trying to diagnose and fix myself, and my illness will probably be more severe, and I will be royally screwed.  Ah, what fun things to look forward to in the future!

 

In other running news, I won’t be doing the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff tomorrow, of course.  But I picked up the shirt anyway, with faraway dreams of wearing it with an unbroken leg in the future.  I’m also not going to be able to do the NYRR Dash to the Finish, which makes 5 NYRR races and 5 marathons I will have missed due to this injury.  Oh, and for anyone keeping track, that means I’ll be 2 races short of qualifying for the NYC Marathon in 2017.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  Again, I’m less upset about that than the waste of time and money, and the fear/constant dread that I’ll never run again.

Front and back of the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff shirt - it's a 50/50 cotton poly short sleeve unisex cut. Meh.

Front and back of the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff shirt – it’s a 50/50 cotton poly short-sleeve unisex cut. Meh.

I also cancelled my NYC Marathon volunteer shift because even if I worked comms/dispatch instead of in the ambulance, I’d still have to be in a tent in Central Park, which would be a challenge to get to.  Plus I’d still be in the boot, so I’d be a minor liability during a mass casualty event – not a good thing.  I’m really disappointed about the marathon volunteering, because last year was truly such a high point for me (before I mistrusted everyone with a medical degree, sigh…), and it’ll be another full year before I’ll have that kind of opportunity again — an opportunity of which there are only a handful more of in my future.

 

I’ve also officially cancelled my backpacking trip to Patagonia this December.  It was a tough (and expensive) decision but ultimately it’s a huge relief.  Even if my bone was completely healed by then (which is actually unlikely), it still would have been too much for my atrophied legs to hike up to 8 hours every day with a fully loaded pack.  I’ve lost a literal inch of muscle from my calf compared to my normal leg – a full inch!  🙁  I can only imagine how many years of my life I’m losing by being so sedentary.  That plus the incompetency of the medical profession and it’s a wonder I’m still alive.

 

Happy Halloween!

 

How many races have you missed in your running career?  How much do you distrust doctors?  What are you going as for Halloween?  Share in the comments!

What to Binge Watch While Injured

The window into my soul.

The window into my soul. The fitness channels are there only for show.

So… what the heck do you do all day when you can’t run or walk or do anything fun with anyone ever? Watch TV!  And sometimes read.  Here are some of my more notable discoveries made over the last 6 months:

 

Crazy Ex-GirlfriendFrom the CW, available on Netflix – This is my spirt animal TV show.  It is amazing.  It follows a New York City lawyer who moves to California to be close to her ex-boyfriend from summer camp.  It’s cheesy, and funny, and has short random musical numbers that are hilarious.  Also, I deeply identify with the main character.  Does that mean I’m a crazy ex-girlfriend?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  Shut up!

 

Below Deck: MediterraneanBravo, available on Hulu and probably on-demand from your cable provider – This is one of those Bravo reality shows that might not be up everyone’s alley, but if you enjoy the occasional reality show you might also enjoy this one – there are beautiful people saying and doing ridiculous things, plus some fighting (but not nearly as much fighting as The Real Housewives of NY).  Plus, it’s all set on a yacht in the Mediterranean, so the scenery is great, and the people who charter this expensive boat are for the most part horrible, so that’s fun, too.

 

Man in the High CastleAmazon – I kinda forced myself to watch this one.  It’s based on a novel by Philip K. Dick (the same SciFi wizard who gave us The Minority Report and Blade Runner, among many others), but the show desperately needs more action and/or a more ruthless editor, since the entire season would have made about 2 decent episodes of TV.  Still, if you dream of a world in which the Nazis won WW2, then you’ll love this show.

 

Stranger ThingsNetflix – This was the big summer breakout show, described as Goonies meets Steven King set in the 80’s.  All of that sounds super promising, but for me it failed to deliver.  It suffered from huge character ability/motivation plot holes, shrill, irritating, one-note acting (I’m looking at you, Winona Ryder), and general sluggishness.  If I were you, I’d pass.

 

 

GirlsHBO – I really thought I was going to hate this show so I was surprised when I suddenly found myself binging all 5 seasons a few months ago.  It follows horrible, self-involved young women who live in Brooklyn doing stupid millennial things, but somehow it’s very watchable to this almost-40 single women doing nothing but sitting on her couch and eating.  The show includes a fair amount of normal-body nudity, which helped me feel better about myself.

 

Game of ThronesHBO – I read the entire Song of Fire and Ice series several years ago and enjoyed it (the key is to not worry about all the names and relationships but to just let the story wash over you — you’ll remember the important characters because he repeats them), but when I first tried to watch the TV show I quickly grew bored of what ironically felt like a flat version of the book (the Imp is a marvelous character, and Peter Dinklage is a terrific actor, but without his internal dialogue I felt like it was missing something).  But, after being so seriously sidelined with this injury, I gave it another go and ended up watching all 6 seasons in about two weeks.  I’m now caught up with the show, which is actually beyond the books at this point, so now I’m waiting for more TV and for more books, which is a little frustrating to this double-GoT-junkie.

 

CatastropheNetflix – I’m only halfway through season 1 of this 2-season show but so far it’s pretty funny, and quick, and easy to watch.  It’s a comedy involving an American and an Irishwoman living in London, so it’s fun to watch all the weird stuff the Brits do and the unending patience the obviously more advanced American has for all their funny ways (hahaha, just kidding… 😮 ?).

 

WestworldNew on HBO – I just started this show and since it’s new there are only 2 episodes available, so you can’t binge it yet, but I had to mention it because I’m already in love with and obsessed with this show.  It’s a SciFi show where people pay a bunch of money to visit an Old West theme park populated by hyper-realistic androids.  The “guests” do various horrific things to the androids, but every night the park is re-set and the androids go back to square one (like a video game).  But of course things go wrong, and that’s wonderful – for us, the viewers.  I hope this show stays as amazing as it started.  (Note – this show has more nudity and violence in its first episode than Game of Thrones had in its first season, but what did you expect from HBO?)

 

Some shows I watched before I got injured but continue to enjoy include The Last Man on Earth (so surprisingly good), Modern Family, The Walking Dead (although I’m enjoying that less and less, to be honest), and every naked reality show ever.

 

Books

I really enjoyed Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, who wrote Prep and various other novels that weren’t as good as Prep or Eligible.  I also finally read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, which I enjoyed but not quite as much as I enjoyed the Gone Girl/Sharp Objects/Dark Places series by Gillian Flynn.  (Oh god, maybe I really am a crazy ex-girlfriend…)  I also read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, which was kinda cute and a little sad but obviously meant to be heartwarming.  As far as nonfiction goes, I recently read Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool, but I think you could get almost as much out of it by simply reading a summary.

 

I just started Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, because that is a book you read after you finish a depressing book about WWI (Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks), while sitting on the couch eating popcorn and drinking gingeraid kombucha.

 

What do you like to do for long periods of time when you can’t move?  Any books or TV shows I should avoid?  What are your feelings about kombucha?  Share in the comments!

MRI Report – Insert Emoji Cry Face

The worst part is this is nothing compared to what's coming next...

The worst part is this is nothing compared to what’s coming next…

Today I got the preliminary MRI report from the hospital.  It included a summary of the findings as determined by a doctor, but I haven’t spoken to my orthopedic doctor yet about what I’ll have to do in particular.  But, since this big news to me, and by extension to this running blog, I thought I’d share the findings right away.

 

Turns out, my ankle was broken after all!  <she said with no trace of joy>  I have an “avulsion fracture” which is when a tendon or ligament takes a small piece of the bone with it when it’s wrenched out of place.  Since it still hasn’t healed yet (because the first orthopedic doctor told me to walk on it, despite my protests of pain), I’ll probably have to take all the weight off that foot for the next 6-7 weeks (or 2-3 months).  That means I’ll probably have to be in a full boot and/or on crutches until early December.  (!!!!!!???!!?!?!?!)

 

Yep, that means I’ll have been severely disabled from May to December, and not in a romantic way.  After December, who knows what else I’ll have to do or how long it will take to actually get back to operating in a normal fashion, if that’s even possible.  I’ve never been so thoroughly disgusted with doctors in my life, and I’ve had my fair share of incompetent doctoring before.  Seriously, if you know of a good medical malpractice attorney, I’m interested.

 

I also have a wedding this weekend in which I’m a bridesmaid.  I hope the bride is cool with me buzzing down the aisle in a motorized grocery cart.  The good news is the new waterproof mascara I tested today passed with flying colors.  🙁

 

Have you ever been injured for more than half a year?  Have you ever wanted to burn the entire world down?  But seriously, do you know a good malpractice attorney?  Share in the comments!

Candy Review – Trader Joe’s Boffo! and Quasar Bars

Boffo! and Quasar, from Trader Joe's.

Boffo! and Quasar, from Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe’s has been a long-time source of candy for candy-loving cheapskates like me, but while shopping for dark chocolate peanut butter cups spinach the other day, I spotted two new Trader Joe’s brand candy bars and I just had to have them – for science!

Denuded.

Denuded.

Boffo! to you! to!

Boffo! to you! to!

First up is the Boffo! Bar “with peanuts, caramel, and nougat enrobed in milk chocolate,” which sounded delightful and much like a Snickers bar.  Once sliced, it looked like a peanut-stingy, nougat-generous Snicker’s bar, and tasted that way, too, except the nougat was much chewier than in a Snickers.  Despite being the lead descriptor, the peanuts definitely come as an afterthought.  The chewiness of the nougat was at first overwhelming (as it was unexpected) but after eating a few more bites I began to thoroughly enjoy it.  Would I buy this candy bar again?  I don’t know that I’d get this over a Snickers Almond, M&M Almond, or Twix, for example, but it wasn’t horrible.  And while I wouldn’t be disappointed to find this in my trick-or-treat stash, at 240 calories and 28 grams of sugar, my doctor would.

Look at that thick coating!

Look at that thick coating!

The fine print...

The fine print…

I was excited by the dark chocolate covering the “whipped chocolate nougat and rich caramel” of the Quasar Bar, but immediately put off when I sliced into the bar and discovered a cross-section that looked suspiciously like the dreaded Mars Bar (don’t get me started on Mars Bars, the once-wonderful, chock-full-of-almonds candy bar that turned into the horrid English caramel and nougat-only Milky Way-esq monstrosity!!!).  However, for science, I tried a piece and then another piece and then another piece and then another.  Surprisingly delicious!  This is no Mars Bar/Milky Way!  The dark chocolate outside is fairly thick and good quality (cough cough for an American candy bar cough cough) and the caramel and nougat are a pleasing texture and sweetness.  At 220 calories and 30 whopping grams of sugar, I would have to be embracing my inner diabetic to eat this a second time, but then again my inner diabetic and I are pretty tight.

 

Overall, I’d put these two candy bars in the “buy” category if you’re looking for candy from Trader Joe’s.  (I also put the aforementioned Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups in the solid “buy” category, with instructions to store them in the freezer or fridge and eat them cold, but I’d put the Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered almonds in the “pass” category, because for some reason, possibly the quality of the chocolate or the waxy coating, they’re unappealing in my book.)  And if you’re looking for non-chocolate sweets, the best thing to buy at Trader Joe’s right now is the Mini Ginger Pumpkin Ice Cream Mouthfuls, which are everything good about the fall season and frozen foods and life itself.

 

What Trader Joe’s items do you love?  Is there a candy that you used to love that you can’t find anymore?  Do you like pumpkin pie?  Share in the comments!

Getting the Boot (or Shoe)

My stylish new footwear, fall leaves for time reference.

My stylish new footwear, fall leaves for time reference.

I went to the doctor today and left with one new shoe and a big bag of pity party.  As you know, I sprained my ankle all the way back on May 14th.  I’ve had some big downs and small ups since then, but since it’s been 20 weeks (5 whole months!  3 different seasons!) and I’m still having pain, swelling, and general problems with my foot and ankle, I decided to see another doctor to get it checked out again.

 

Foot bone stuff for fun.

Not my X-rays.

I went to the Hospital for Special Surgery this time and they took comprehensive X-rays of my foot and ankle.  The X-rays didn’t reveal any existing fractures but the doctor did say I had swelling in my 4th metatarsal.  She said that’s a precursor to a stress fracture and it’s what’s been causing me pain at the top of my foot.  She prescribed the beautiful shoe above to keep it stable (which I immediately ordered from Amazon so my germaphobic self can have a second one for indoor wear only), with directions to wear the shoe for 4 weeks, do absolutely no jumping or running, and to generally “take it easy” for 2 weeks.  She said I could do non-impact exercise like the elliptical or biking, but it has to be in the shoe (so let’s be honest, I don’t think I’ll be doing any biking), and if there is any pain I have to stop.  She said my cuboid bone might also be inflamed, but again that rest was the best option.

 

She also prescribed an MRI (that I’ll have to schedule in the next week or so) that will give her a look at the soft tissues.  She’s specifically interested in the scar tissue (she mentioned something about “entrapment” but I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean it in the legal sense) and my cartilage (or what’s left of it!).

 

The doctor did say I could walk, but after wearing this shoe for 30 seconds I see now that she was joking.  This shoe makes it almost impossible to walk.  My current stride makes John Wayne look like a runway model.  They’ve hobbled me while claiming I can walk – it’s like handing someone an empty soda can and telling them to drink as much as they want.  In fact, wearing this shoe makes my ankle hurt even more.  So no, I won’t be walking.  I’ll be here at home sulking and gaining weight and feeling sorry for myself.*  This is how you turn a marathon runner into a diabetic.

 

*Ok, but actually, I’m almost done feeling sorry for myself today.  I ate an entire bag of cookies and complained to my friends, but ultimately it is what it is.  I’m glad it was caught early and didn’t turn into a real fracture.  And I’m hopeful that this plus whatever the MRI will show will lead to treatments that will actually get me back out there running, hopefully before the heat death of the universe.  But yes, 4 weeks in this shoe is 4 more weeks of torture after a torturous 5 months.  Are we done with 2016 yet?

 

Have you ever had to wear an orthopedic boot or shoe?  What stupid series on HBO or Netflix should I watch next?  Is all this pain and time spent off my feet reducing my sentence in purgatory?  Share in the comments!