Gena's all made up with 800m to go

06 August 2017 - 00:00 By DAVID ISAACSON

Gena Lofstrand may look like the Barbie doll of athletics, but she puts in the hard work she hopes will give her a career-best time at the world championships in London.
Lofstrand will run with Caster Semenya in the 800m heats on Thursday and possibly in the 4x400m relay next weekend, and already she's planning to set aside time to make sure her make-up is applied properly before competition.
"I feel best when I have make-up and that's when I feel my most confident and strong. I just feel good.
"I like wearing red lipstick when I race sometimes. It's bold and it's a good colour to wear. Other than that, I just do what I always do," said the Durban-based athlete who wears eyelash extensions.
"I've got base, lipstick, contour, blush, eyeliner is my favourite as well. I do my eyebrows . you know, you've got to shape them," she added with a laugh.
Applying make-up can take 30 to 45 minutes, although she gets it down to five to 10 minutes when in a rush.
"I love make-up and pretty things. I like being girly as well as putting in the work."
During the off-season she did some impressive weights in the gym.
"My favourite thing to do was hip thrusts, a glute exercise, and then I'd do 140kg, 150kg," she said, adding her coach had told her to lighten her gym load as her track times improved.
This season Lofstrand has done two 400m races, both personal bests, and her eight fastest 800m races have come in 2017, including her 2min 01.50sec personal best last month.
Racing in Europe has helped toughen her up, though her most bizarre experience was at a Southern African meet in neighbouring Zimbabwe earlier this year.
"We got taken to the track 10 minutes before we had to race," she said. "We sat on the bus for an hour waiting for it to leave.
"We just sat there and they just kept piling people on and there was no more space and they were 'no, you need to move back'. They were just squishing us on like sardines."
She clocked 2:03 that day. "It's okay for 8am, 10 minutes warm-up."
Lofstrand believes speed work is the key to her improved times.
"[My coach's] idea is the faster you get in the 400, the easier your first lap in the 800 will be."I think that's been the biggest difference for me this year, getting my 400 time down."
In London she's eager to do the 800m in two minutes flat or even 1:59.00, saying her biggest challenge is to focus on the third 200m, what she calls the graveyard. "I lose focus there."
One of the people who has tried to help her go faster is Semenya, a former training partner when studying sports science at North West University in Potchefstroom.
"She's always willing to help me get the times that I want to run," said Lofstrand. She's a good friend. She's always willing to offer advice and help."
Lofstrand says she has little time for leisure activities outside of training and make-up. "I train, I sleep, I like eating, I like watching series.
"I'm not like a big party person, but I enjoy training. That is fun for me."

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