Not many people's first-ever half-IRONMAN takes place 10 weeks after they've had their first child. But Jocelyn McCauley isn't your average sort of person.
And just a year after that race with her sister in 2014, she'd turned professional. And since then she's become a multiple half and full-distance winner at the highest level as well as cracking the top 10 at the World Championship in Kona.
IRONMAN New Zealand has proved a significant event throughout her career so far. It was her first race as a professional in 2015, making it all the more special when she was first across the line two years later.
And a second win in 2019, in a country she loves, saw her beat the all-time overall record in what is the world’s longest-running IRONMAN event.
As well as the many highs, there have also been some lows as she has endured both illness and misfortune since late 2019.
She has been building back steadily to full fitness and is relishing the chance to bounce back when racing resumes.
Highs and lows of the sport
"I was a runner - cross country and track and field - in university. I loved it, but ended up getting injured and needing surgery three times," says Jocelyn of her early sporting career.
And the opportunity to get involved in triathlon couldn't have been much closer to home.
"My sister started doing iron-distance triathlons, and I went and supported her. I found the atmosphere of the whole race - but especially the start and finish - so electrifying and addicting.
"So I decided to do my first half distance - which you had to enter about a year in advance - and finished it with my sister 10 weeks after having my daughter!”
Her progress from that point was staggering. She decided right away she wanted to do a full-distance race so IRONMAN Texas in 2014 was inked into the diary, saying it would be a "one and done thing", which wasn't quite how it turned out.
Again both Jocelyn and her sister took part, and both performed well enough to qualify for Kona. Jocelyn excelled on the Big Island by being the first amateur female to finish.
Wondering whether to try and juggle nursing full-time (she had Bachelor and Masters degrees), with being a mum and fitting in her triathlon training became a much easier decision on the back of that.
She began racing as a pro in 2015, with fifth at IRONMAN New Zealand a promising start.
Jocelyn didn't have to wait too long for her first win, Spain's Balearic Islands providing the setting as she won IRONMAN Mallorca in 2016. And the momentum rolled into 2017, where that first success in IRONMAN New Zealand meant so much.
That year also saw her collect her first half-IRONMAN victory at 70.3 Vichy in France ahead of her first Kona appearance as a pro where she squeezed into the top 10 thanks to a storming last 10km on the run.
A solid 2018 (podiums at IRONMAN New Zealand, 70.3 Vichy and 70.3 Taupo, plus a frustrating puncture-blighted Kona return) was followed by a near-perfect first half of 2019.
Her second win at IRONMAN New Zealand this time saw her register the fastest-ever time (and only the second under nine hours) in the 35-year history of the race.
And then to IRONMAN Texas, the full-distance race where it had all started as an amateur alongside her sister, and an object lesson in how to face your fears and conquer them.
"I was going to that race for the sixth time overall and trying to finally have a good race there as a pro," she explains.
"I kept thinking about the failures that I had there - passed out, gotten sick, three flats and zero gearing on my bike. I was able to change my mindset of thinking about all the failures there to the opportunity of having success."
Already qualified for Kona thanks to that New Zealand triumph, Jocelyn was able to go toe-to-toe with the dominant Daniela Ryf - and push her all the way.
There were just six seconds between them in the swim. Nothing separated them on the bike - Jocelyn even moved to the front late on and was the first to reach T2. This was a new experience for Ryf, who had been in front at that point in every one of her previous IRONMAN races stretching back to her first race in 2014.
And so it continued, Jocelyn surging into a two-minute lead on the run after 12km before Ryf relentlessly closed the gap. With not much more than 5km to go, Ryf was in front and this time she wasn't going to relinquish her advantage.
That epic battle should have set things up perfectly for another showdown at Kona, but it wasn't to be.
"The Fall of 2019 and then early 2020 have shown me the most pain - both physical and emotional - I've had in races,” explains Jocelyn.
"At Kona 2019 I was in the best shape of my life but ended up getting a parasite leading into the race. I ended up puking for most of the bike ride and pulled over very dehydrated and confused.
"Two weeks later I decided to go to Malaysia to try and put things right and get early qualification for 2020. I was leading by about 30 minutes with 15km left on the run but got hyponatremia and collapsed.
"I was unconscious for 12 hours in the hospital with brain swelling and rhabdomyolysis. I was physically and emotionally pretty crushed by the whole experience. I didn't have any family there with me."
The men's winner that day, at what is renowned as the hottest event on the IRONMAN calendar, was triathlon legend Javier Gomez. Afterwards he described it as the "the most extreme heat conditions I've ever raced in."
Even Jocelyn’s favourite race of IRONMAN New Zealand couldn't turn the tide.
"I ended up getting very sick before the race. I had about 10 days off training leading into it and did a little swim, bike, and run the day before. I started but just didn't have anything in me to be able to race. I was so mentally conflicted because I didn't want to DNF my third event in a row but ended up stopping after many people's concern for my safety."
Looking forward to bouncing back
"Swimming can be so meditative. Biking I can explore so much - and running was my first love, I always enjoy the simplicity and ease of it," is how Jocelyn sums up the three disciplines of triathlon.
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting all competitive sporting calendars, Jocelyn took her time to regain full strength and fitness.
Reflecting on her career to date, she's quick to pay tribute to her husband: "The best hugs in the world are the finish-line hugs I get to give him. We go through so much together to make this dream possible. It's our dream, not just mine, and I appreciate him so much.
"I also want my daughter to be able to see what's possible if you pursue your dreams and the outcome of hard work."
For religious reasons, Jocelyn doesn't race or train on Sundays, and she says: "I believe that God has given us talents and gifts that we should continue to improve and develop to show our love to him as well as help spread his love to others."