“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen” – Michael Jordan

I’ve been relatively quiet, of late. After the slog of Marathon and 10k swim training, my mind needed a rest as much as my body. I let myself have some time to reflect and just do whatever the hell I wanted to do. I still went to the gym, got in the pool and hopped on my bike, but it was when I wanted to and literally just for fun and smiles. What a tonic that’s been. I now feel ready. Ready to tackle the 6.5 months of tough training that lies ahead of me. Ready to sacrifice and commit. Ready to put my money where my mouth is and make my iron-dreams happen.

All being well, on June 17th 2018, I will stand on the shore of Derwentwater with 140.6 miles of swimming, cycling and death-marching in front of me. I will need all the support and encouragement I can get, but I wanted to give myself added incentive to keep me going during the darkest hours of training and the longest hours of Lakesman.

As “Athletes” (I still struggle to call myself that…) we are lucky to be able to do what we do. None of this is ever pain or struggle free, but imagine living life with a condition that meant you physically couldn’t do the things you loved? Millions of people live with Chronic conditions. Some are well known, others are less heard of. And I want to raise awareness of two conditions in particular: Lymphoedema and Lipodema.

In 2016, I raised over £1000 for Lymfund and I decided to support them again for 2018. But what do they do? Who are they? And what exactly is Lympho-whatever or Lipo-something?

I decided to ask WonderWoman herself for some more information……….


Who are you and how do you know Bean?

“I am Lynora Kennedy,  The Mother of Bean.”

Aside from being a mummy, what is your day job?

“I am a Lymphoedema Therapist,  Manual Lymph Drainage Practitioner and Massage Therapist.  I also do Reflexology.  I have been a therapist for 40 years.”

What is Lymphoedema (and how on EARTH do you spell it)?

“Lymphoedema is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues. It can affect any part of the body. It develops when the lymphatic system doesn’t work properly, or if the lymphatics have been interrupted by trauma, surgery or invasive treatment (radiotherapy).   The lymphatic system is a network of channels and nodes throughout the body that helps fight infection and remove excess fluid.”

What’s Lipoedema (and how do you spell this also?)

“Lipoedema is a long-term (chronic) condition where there’s an abnormal build-up of fat cells in the legs, thighs and buttocks, and sometimes in the arms. The condition usually only affects women, although in rare cases it can also affect men.  It can be a progressive and very painful condition, and is often mistakenly diagnosed as obesity.”

Are treatments available on the NHS?

“Lymphoedema and Lipoedema are known to the NHS, and whilst there are Lymphoedema Clinics in towns and cities around the UK, few NHS facilities can offer MLD (manual lymphatic drainage) as part of the management of the conditions.”

Where can people find out more information about these conditions and available treatment?

“Information about Lymphoedema can be found via the Lymphoedema Support Network   and Lipoedema via Lipoedema UK

A national directory of Independent Lymphoedema Therapists can be found via MLDUK

Is there any financial support available for people seeking treatment?

“There is no financial support for those people seeking help from an Independent Therapist, except in very special circumstances via their GP or hospital consultant.

Lymfund will support applications from MLDUK registered therapists to treat individuals who are unable to fund themselves.”

What is treatment like for these conditions?

“Lymfund will pay for 10 treatments per patient.  Often the patient has received no care or treatment for their condition, and the 10 treatments given are enough to help teach the patient how to self-manage their condition,  reduce the oedema, and often, more importantly, relieve the pain that many patients suffer with these conditions.  The feedback from patients who have benefitted from funding via Lymfund, is incredibly positive.  One comment that occurs most is ‘these treatments have made me feel so much better and able to cope’.”

Why should people give your daughter their hard earned cash?

“To enable people to receive beneficial hands on care that they cannot access via mainstream facilities.”

Any words of advice for your daughter on her adventure?

“Don’t look back – just keep swimming. No, wait, that was Dory………… oh well – I’ll say it too!!!   Go Bean!”

What message would you have for people who think they may be suffering from these conditions but might be too worried to see their doctor:

“Talk to someone – contact anyone at the two organisations mentioned above – their helplines are manned by volunteer patients.”

So. Aside from raising awareness and (hopefully) some decent cash for a very deserving charity, why on EARTH am I doing The Lakesman?

Because of these two. My parents. They are such a massive inspiration to me. They support me and Lissie unconditionally and enthusiastically while simultaneously dealing with their own challenges both together and individually.

They have given me so much throughout my life, and they’ve always supported and encouraged me whatever I chose to do. So this one is going to be for them!

With it being so close to Christmas and the dreaded January blues, I’m going to hold off setting up a justgiving for now…. but in the new year I will start pestering you all with my charm in order to ply you for some of your hard earned cash on behalf of this truly deserving and brilliant cause.


The Almost 10k

Let me take you back to 2013. The year before my first ever marathon. Young Bean needed some races to give her some motivation, so she decided to enter the Edinburgh MoRun 10k.

She couldn’t run 10k. She definitely couldn’t run hills. So 2 laps of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh would totes be an awesome plan. Ish.

It was a bright, bitter November morning. I travelled through solo, because at this point, I had yet to convince my friends and partner that running was a fun pastime. My parents would meet me in Edinburgh to support me. And I knew a Twitter pal would be there if I needed someone to hold my bag.

This bright, crisp November weather would remain the same each time I took part in the event apart from the one year I didn’t, when it fucking hammered it down. And 4 years on from my first EVER event, I’m now usually flanked by a friend or a Beardy or a Father-in-Law as well as my long-suffering parents. It’s lovely to have so many people support my adventures and join me in the madness!

This year, we didn’t head to Edinburgh due to a family bereavement. But we did get to Perth for their first go at hosting the event!

Beardy and his dad do Parkrun in Perth most weeks, so they were obviously up for the race.

The pavements were frozen solid, but the sun was blinding. The route would start and finish on the North Inch with 2 laps including a town centre section. I hadn’t bothered to look at a route map. Or my number. Or any info. A significant departure from Race-Neurotic Bean of races past. New-Age-Ageing-Bean prefers a more laid-back approach, apparently!

4 and a bit years into my fitness adventure, the enthusiasm for running in winter is yet to appear. I fucking HATE feeling cold. This usually means I wear too many layers and overheat but it was BITTER. I went for Adidas base layer, VLM tee and gloves with full length leggings. That’d do (it was perfect).

This year’s lazy approach to MoRun also involved not actually training for it.

I. Know.

I hadn’t run since Dramathon save one chilly, frustrating 5k and some treadmill sprints.

I have been working my arse off in the gym, however, while trying to drop some post-marathon-greed-gained kilos. So I have gained some strength back and my legs were feeling ready to go.

The route is nice and flat, I had a feeling that I could be close to PB territory if I could keep niggles at bay. I still placed myself quite far back in the pack, though, cause I HATE getting in the way.

Father-in-Law joined me and the gun went right on schedule.

The first few hundred metres were directly into the blinding sun. What a day to forget my Oakley’s! We wound down through the inch, under the Old bridge and down Tay street to the newly renovated council building. I encountered the first poorly judged race route choice here: a narrow path with two directions of runners and no cones with a lead-bike coming flying towards us with the winner of the 5km race on his back wheel. All while being blinded by the sun.

Not the best.

The route then wound round the streets of Perth before taking us back up Tay street, under the bridge and back to the inch.

As we approached the top of the inch, we were beginning to realise the course would be short. As it happens, we’d barely hit 4km before we were at half way and on to lap two.

On the second lap, I was firmly battling a stitch but FiL was pacing me at 6min/km and my legs had bags left in them. We thanked marshals and despite being at my threshold pace, I was able to hold a sort of conversation.

On the final turn, it was crystal clear that the course was VERY short. And I crossed the line at 8.6km. 1.4km short. But 50mins! I’d have been WELL under my 57:58PB. I felt cheated! I’ve tried a dozen times since my last PB to beat it and been struck by illness or injury or The Fear every time. And today TOTALLY could’ve been the day.

The explanation for the course shortening is flimsy at best. With varying reports of when it was actually decided. But it was at no point relayed to the runners. Hopefully they have a backup route next year if it’s icy! Safety first, for sure. But get your story straight before posting on social media.

Also, they’ve offered us free entry into an event next year, which is a kind gesture, but this is a charity event! I’d prefer they donated 100% of the entry fees to the Movember Foundation instead?!

All in, MoRun is a fantastic event with a good turn out and all for a brilliant cause. And it’s given me a confidence boost that I have sub60 firmly in my legs and lungs!

Many things have changed since the first time I ran MoRun in 2013, but primarily my fitness is wildly improved. After my first one, I couldn’t walk up or down stairs for 4 days. And yet right now I could go out and run the last 1.4km. (I won’t though, because it’s tea time.)

Onwards now to changed priorities as Lakesman training takes on its base phase.