This weekend was my first 'race free' weekend in around a month and a half, yet it proved to be one of my busiest and most exhausting weekend so far this year. Yesterday I hosted a very successful Bake Sale at Asda Living in Lincoln and managed to raise over £150 for the National Eczema Society. Whilst today I added another 21km+ towards my 1000km target with a run in the midday sun.
I had this weekend marked in my calender for a while as the potential time to host a bake sale. Most weekends I am able to find several races to pick from to enter, but this weekend always remained empty in my calender as I was unable to find a close enough race. Whether or not this was down to today being the date of two major races in the Great Manchester Run and Edinburgh Marathon I'm not sure, but I had to unfortunately give those two races a miss as I couldn't justify (or afford) to pay the entry fee, travel and potential accommodation costs for one of these two alongside the 40+ other races I am running this year.
We were very gratefully joined this weekend by our friend Hannah, who had offered to help with the Bake Sale. If you've reached this blog through any eczema or chronic illness related means, or actually especially if you haven't, I ask you to check out her blog, The Retired Bridgeburner, where she offers support and aims to raise awareness of all kinds of chronic illnesses.
Many of Jenny's colleagues and my boss from work had offered to help bake for the sale, although we made sure to bake plenty of our own cakes too. With it being our first bake sale we had no idea what to expect or how many cakes we would need. We had advertised that we would be selling Dairy and Gluten free cakes, so on Thursday we grabbed some Gluten Free Flour and Vitalite Dairy Free butter, with little idea of what we were going to do with them.
I had taken the Friday off work as I had a day's worth of baking to do, although by 4pm I hadn't baked a single thing. I wasn't aware of what would or wouldn't sell and no idea of what others would be baking so I was very indecisive about what to bake. In the end I decided on Dairy Free Flapjacks, Dairy Free Banana & Raisin Muffins, Rocky Road and a Lemon Drizzle, whilst Jenny made some Chocolate Cornflake Cakes and some Marble Cupcakes. I woke up at half 6 on the Saturday to start making the Lemon Drizzle cake, and for some strange reason by the time we had to leave for the bake sale it still hadn't set so we had to leave it behind.
Throughout the day I was overwhelmed by people's generosity. We hadn't set a price for any of the cakes, opting instead to ask for any donations, with a suggested donation of 50p per cake. What we found was that many were willing to donate a lot more than that, and some were even donating without wanting any cake, a bizarre concept for this trio of cake fiends.
Around October last year I made the decision to run for the National Eczema Society and do what I could to raise money for the charity. Jenny's health was spiralling downwards and we were both struggling to cope with it emotionally. I knew that there was little I could do on top of what I was already doing to make her any better, so I felt that I had to do what I could to raise as much money as possible in the hope that it will help towards the research for a cure. So whilst my reasons for all my fundraising this year are very much personal, it is heart warming to hear other sufferers personally thank me for helping raise awareness of their condition and helping to raise money.
By the end of the day we had just a handful of cakes left to sell, but with the numbers of customers coming through the shop dropping we were unable to convince anyone to buy these few remaining cakes. So instead, unfortunately they came home with us, well some did, a couple may have been eaten on the car on the way back. Before we returned home however we made a much promised visit to Bunty's, for some tea and cake. After a torturous day sat in front of cake we felt we very much deserved some of our own, and in doing so I think we made them a new customer for life in Hannah.
Today was all about the run and getting that little bit closer to my 1000km target. For the first time in around a month and a half I didn't have a race lined up, so instead I had another solo run. I was dressed and all ready to leave for my run when I realised that the Great Manchester Run was on TV, so I delayed it slightly to watch the majority of that. Once it had reached 12 O'Clock I decided I couldn't delay my run much longer, so stepped out to go for my run in the hottest part of the day. Which quite obviously would prove the be a big mistake.
As for today's route, I opted to run along several parts of the Viking Way trail, a 147-mile footpath which starts at the Humber Bridge and ends at Oakham, Rutland. The route had come to my attention when I stumbled across the Viking Way Ultra, an ultra marathon which covers the entire 147 miles and just so happens to cut through my village. The run has since found it's way on my runner's Bucket List, a very very optimistic inclusion, but for me it currently represents the pinnacle of all races.
It didn't take long for my body to let me know that it has far from recovered from last weekend's Marathon, and in all likelihood it is still recovering from the London Marathon last month. My left quadricep was feeling very tight, and no amount of stretching or trying to 'run it off' seemed to work. I followed the 'Yellow Viking Way signs' for around three miles before breaking off and going my own separate way, running as wide a loop of Lincoln as I could.
Leaving aside the difficulty I had in today's run, it was a great and very successful weekend that made me appreciate the power of cake. This year National Eczema Week takes place between the 14th - 22nd September and following the success of yesterday's bake sale I have the intention of running another Bake Sale, and maybe this time being a little bit more organised.
Once again please visit http://www.justgiving.com/shanes1000km and donate what you can, whilst I'm in the baking mood, generous donations may well be the recipient of cake.
Distance: 21.12 km | 13.12 miles
Average Pace: 05:30 min/km | 08:52 min/mi
View my run: