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A bachelor’s, a master’s, and a return trip to school for a nursing degree would be achievement enough for most, but for Jocelyn McCauley, a 2013 graduate of the UC College of Nursing’s accelerated program, graduation was just the start.
The former college athlete was the top finisher in her age group (25-29) and top amateur overall—beating out a third of the professional field—at the 2014 Ironman World Championship competition held Oct. 10 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
McCauley finished the grueling 140.6-mile endurance challenge (a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike race and full marathon of 26.2 miles) in 9 hours, 50 minutes and 39 seconds.
With medal in hand, the cardiovascular intensive care unit nurse at Christ Hospital has some big decisions to make about what comes next.
As a working mom who calls Ironman training/competitions a "very big hobby,” how do you find time for all the training needed to stay in top shape?
"I train around 12 to18 hours max a week. I wake up early to fit most of my workouts in before my husband goes off to work. Everyone has limited time and I just choose to spend mine doing this.”
You were an athlete in college. How did that athletic career prepare you for the kind of training you do now?
"I was first a runner for Brigham Young University (BYU) and then did my master’s and ran at UC. Running in college gave me a solid running background; however, Ironman is so much different than a 5- or 10K race. My races in college were 10 to 35 minutes long, whereas an Ironman is almost 10 hours. Even though they are so different, I had to learn how to persevere and fit everything in during college running.”
You are a graduate of the College of Nursing’s Accelerated Program—which admits students of academic backgrounds outside nursing who are seeking entry into the nursing profession. What was your previous degree and what made you decide to pursue nursing?
"I earned an undergrad in exercise sciences from BYU, a master’s in health education from UC and worked a little and was exposed to nursing through cardiac rehab. I loved the clinical aspect of nursing so I found UC's program and applied. I love helping others and being able to know I made a difference in someone's life.”
After such a successful Ironman performance, what’s next?
"I'm getting that question from everyone in my life right now and don't know what to say. I’d been saying ‘for now I'm still on the island and we've been eating shave ice, pineapple and macadamia nuts at least twice a day.’ Reality will be coming back soon enough and I will have to make some big decisions about sponsorships and if I want to race as a professional triathlete. I will not race on Sundays, due to religious reasons, so that limits the number of races I would be able to do.”