Racing with confidence: Q&A with Ironman 2019 Winner Jocelyn McCauley

Racing with confidence: Q&A with Ironman 2019 Winner Jocelyn McCauley
  • Written by
  • Deepika Sulekh

Emerging from her race win at Ironman 2019 – first in the gender rank – Jocelyn McCauley was overwhelmed by the cheers, motivation and support from Taupo, the spectators and the competitors. With the win still fresh for all of us, we recently spoke to Jocelyn about what it took to win and how she made it this far in her journey.

Were you confident you would win?

I was confident that I could win. Ironman is a long day so a lot can go wrong. You can plan and prepare to the best of your abilities and then get two flats or have a mechanical and your day could be over. Going into a race, I spend a lot of time visualising my perfect race and seeing it play out exactly how I want it to. This helps me build confidence that I can and will win.

What were the highlights of the race?

This whole course is a highlight for me. This community embraces Ironman and the athletes coming here which is wonderful – I can truly feel the love. Taupo is breathtakingly beautiful so I love to enjoy the sites and surrounds all day.

After the swim, I was three minutes behind the leaders but by the middle of the first loop on the bike, I could see them. I got to the front of the race and pulled away much faster than I thought I would. It is always a highlight when things play out even better than you thought they would!

My husband, sister, and brother-in-law were cheering all over the course. My other sister did the race and we crossed paths a couple times too. Seeing family and friends around the course and at the finish line made the day even sweeter for me.

Any low points or obstacles? How did you overcome them?

I did have two main low points. The first was hearing I was three minutes down when I finished the swim. I was hoping it would be much less than that but I just focused on chipping away at the bike and executing my plan, as I’d planned.

The next low came one lap into the run when my stomach decided to cramp up on me. I walked to an aid station and even bent over with my hands on my knees for a few seconds. It still hurt but it improved for a lap, until I had to walk to the same aid station on the last lap.

What kind of training schedule did you have?

I am a US-based athlete but I started working with a coach from Auckland, Bevan McKinnon. I followed his personally prescribed program to build up to this race. It included a couple of high volume weeks (33 hours) and some high intensity, lower volume weeks, and some race specific intervals as well.

When did you first start participating in Ironman & what inspired you to participate?

I did my first Ironman in 2014 as an amateur with my sister – she is the one who got me into this crazy sport. After supporting her during her first few Ironman races, I fell in love with them! Anyone who has been to the start or finish of an Ironman will get inspired in some way. I got inspired to do “just one” and the rest is history.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out?

Find a tri group or some friends in the area who do triathlons so you have a good support network starting out. They will be your best resource for questions about anything. Enjoy it! That’s why we do this! Pinpoint what brings you joy from participating in a triathlon and build on that part of it.

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