Judy Bird flies at Spar Ladies race Master runner Judy Bird ran the perfect race at the Spar Ladies 10km in Cape Town on April 2, winning both the veteran and master categories and breaking the route record in 38.47. Judy reflects on her race
The morning was perfect for a race – no wind, cool air, the salty smell of the sea, and the sound of waves. I just love the sea and I got out of bed feeling grateful. My preparation for this race was spot on – I had had 2 nights of good sleep; an afternoon power nap the day before; eaten the foods I know I do well on; had a massage Friday night; and had drunk significant quantities of water all of Saturday. I had also spent the previous 7 days visualising the average split and finish time that I wanted to achieve. An amazing experience – I only once looked at my watch during the race and yet I ran the exact split and time I visualized! I did have one second of self-doubt as I came into the finish, which was when I took the first look at my watch and saw average split time of 4min/km. I just said to myself – that cannot be (and still don’t understand it)! As I reached the finish line and glanced at the clock to my right, I saw 38.47! I had planned a 38.50 at the most.
We had taken an apartment right by the start line, so I took full advantage of this by setting off for a 2.5km warm up at 6am, coming back to the apartment to drop off my top and then ran another 2km around the crowds to the start line. It was there that I did my strides and reminded my body about the speed I wanted it to run at! By this stage I had clocked up 5km. I flew from the moment the gun went off, and never stopped! Having run the Spar series for a few years now, I have got to know the runners and the two veteran runners I often dice with were behind me in that first km, and it was then that I vowed they would not pass me. I relaxed, and kept repeating my mantra that I had been telling myself the last few days. They never passed me and I ended up running my best 10km time since I turned master, almost 6 years ago. I have really learnt something these last few weeks – the mind plays a huge role in our performance. I also twigged about something regarding my training runs. When Neville has given me the 75/45 sessions, I have been doing these on my usual routes – thinking that differing terrain emulates race conditions, but I suddenly realized that I should be doing these on the same flat piece of road, to focus on speed and consistency. It is too easy to justify a slackening in pace as you go up a hill (!).
The combination of good training and support from CoachNeville, combined with focus on the “softer” aspects of running such as mental preparation, rest and diet, resulted in an awesome run! Many thanks Neville!