LESSONS FROM A PRO - Lucy Gossage
I first met Lucy Gossage at the press conference before Ironman UK in 2013. I was gathering interviews for a BBC Radio documentary on Ironman, she was two sleeps away from her first Pro win in Bolton.
When I started the interview, I had done enough research to know she was a doctor and a very good triathlete. By the end of the interview I knew she was pretty bonkers, very modest, incredibly hard working and that she had an insane ability to push herself far beyond her comfort zone.
She told me about how in one particular Ironman, she collapsed at a drinks station and was taken into a medical tent, where she was given two bags of IV. Lucy, being Lucy, then carried on successfully to the finish line.
Since that first meeting, not only have I been lucky enough to interview Lucy a number of times, but I’ve also get to know her through her inspirational work as an Oncologist.
She has an inner determination and work ethic that puts most of us to shame, she packs more into a day than most people do into a week and she can outshine EVERYONE in a finish chute.
Here are her lessons from a Pro.
Real world v athlete world
“I never planned to become a professional athlete and I don’t really see myself as a professional.
“I don’t think I was a good professional athlete, because I don’t think I was very good at just being an athlete.
“I actually feel sorry for everyone else racing because the result is so important.
“If I didn’t win, I’d go back to work and there were so many other things in my life.”
“The bit I have always loved is being out of my comfort zone, because it’s about that personal satisfaction.
“This last year in particular, even though I did races I’ve done before, I was out of my comfort zone because I had so much else going on.
“Like Ironman Wales, I had my final medical exams the Wednesday before the race. I woke up on the Thursday before and thought ‘Sh*t! I have to get my bike together.’
“It wouldn’t have been the same challenge if I had had a perfect run up.
Patagonman Xtreme Triathlon
“Patagonman made me realise there are so many ways to get out of your comfort zone, other than racing against the best people in the world.
“It was just so different. There was no prize money, no cheering. It was just me against myself in a beautiful part of the world.
“Yes I won it, but that was irrelevant. It wasn’t a race, it was just purely for fun.
“It was the perfect way for me to realise that I still want to do something, purely for that feeling.”
Time for a change
“I didn’t think I was going to race in 2018, but I loved it too much to stop and that hasn’t changed at all.
“But it’s hard to step away from something you love doing when you are making money from it.
“It would have been hard to ‘retire’ having just won a couple of races like Challenge Paguera and 70.3 Lanzarote.
“Patagonman was the best possible way to help me make the transition I am making and doing something purely for fun.”
“This year I have been very upfront with sponsors and am reducing that down, broadening my horizons and I want to make sure that triathlon is still part of my life, but not the massive part that it has been.
“I want to make the most of still being fit and there are other races that aren’t just all triathlons that I would love to do as well.
“I’m not saying I won’t do Ironman, I’m certainly not going into the year with any intention of doing one at all, but I know what I am like and I have these whims.
“There are lots of other things that I am planning which means I can train differently, with less pressure and less stress and just go and enjoy it and see where I end up*.”
*First stop, Switzerland. Lucy will be taking part in the 2019 Engadin Cross Country Ski Marathon. Yes, I take full responsibility. No, she has never cross country skied before.