Ironman NZ – Jenna’s first Ironman

Ironman NZ Race report

What brings you to doing an Ironman, 70.3 or any triathlon?  Who knows, but I do love reading how women become empowered by their achievements.  We throw the words “anything is possible” around in the Ironman world and in this lovely race report from a first time Ironman finisher (Jenna) you will definitely find yourself pumped up to do an Ironman (or at least start thinking about doing one).  Thanks for sharing Jenna!



Ironman NZ – Version 2.0

As I sit here on this windy Sunday afternoon, feeling slightly lost that I don’t have any training on my programme, I find it hard to believe that nearly a month has flown by since I crossed the Ironman New Zealand finish line!

My journey to Ironman began approximately 5 years ago. At that time I couldn’t even swim a length of the pool. A coach convinced me to join his swim technique course and then four weeks on I was swimming with the “Harry Hardouts”!

Come March 2012 I was all set to complete Ironman NZ when all of a sudden New Zealand was hit by a weather bomb! My Ironman dreams were shattered as the event was cancelled and a 70.3 was put on the next day. This was some consolation but still I hadn’t ticked the Ironman off my bucket list that I so desperately wanted to.

After 18 months of soul searching, traveling and what felt like a quarter life crisis I felt like I was ready to tackle this beast called Ironman once again! So my journey to Ironman Version 2.0 began.

Fast-forward three years and I was on the start line for Ironman NZ 2015. After a few nervous tears and saying goodbye to my support crew I headed for the lake with 1200 other athletes and over 400 first-timers. I’m sure we looked like deer in the headlights but with my Ironman buddies by my side I was excited and nervous about the journey ahead of me. I knew it was going to be a long day out there and that it was!

The canon sounded and we were off. The giant washing machine that is Lake Taupo was in full swing. I ticked each buoy off and knew that with every stroke I took I was “taking another bite of the elephant”! I had a fantastic swim and was pleased to be running the 400m to transition where one of the incredible 2000 volunteers was there to greet me with a smile and a helping hand.

Then it was onto the bike for lap one out to Reporoa and back. I was feeling good as I came back into Taupo at 90km. I knew the weather gods were going to challenge me today and that they did. The wind had picked up nicely for the 45km trek back out to Reporoa, straight into a gnarly head wind.

jenna bike 3

I was stoked to see my parents just before the turn around and even more relieved to have a tail wind, even if it was short lived. Before we knew it there was a cross wind and another damn head wind. Oh well not long to go and I knew I would be off that bike!

jenna bike

Transition had never looked so good and my bike was free to a good home. My friend I had met on our summer training camp came in just behind me and I jokingly said wait for me, and what do you know, we met up at the beginning of the run and ended up running/walking the whole marathon together. I feel so grateful to have had my friend out there with me because I truly believe his support got me through!

The weather really packed it in about 6km into the run but once you’re wet you’re wet so I just got on with the job at hand and knew that with every step I was eating more of the elephant. I felt more concerned for my support crew, the volunteers and all the supporters still out there cheering us ‘Ironman-to-be athletes’ on in the howling wind and pouring rain.

After hearing “you’re nearly there” from our enthusiastic Taupo supporters from the first lap, we actually were finally heading home. As we reached the 7km to go mark on our third and final lap I felt my nasty blisters burst and took a moment to take some harden-up pills and knew I was ready to conquer this Ironman once and for all! We were heading home and shit it felt good. Our coach appeared from the middle of nowhere in the dark and that was just the energy boost I needed. It was pretty dark and miserable out there but the supporters kept me going. At 3km to go this guy was cheering us on and said “welcome to the Ironman family” and I knew I was going to make it and that I could finally tick Ironman off my bucket list.

It’s amazing where that energy comes from, but running down that finishing chute was definitely the greatest thing I have ever done in my life! Hearing the words I dreamed of for so long, “Jenna Ryan you are an Ironman” still gives me goosebumps! The icing on the cake for my Ironman experience was being presented my medal by the one and only Terenzo Bozzone after spending 16hours18mins out there tackling the elements!

jenna finish line

Dreams really do come true and I now truly believe that anything is possible!



This will be the perfect read for anyone building up to Ironman Port Macquarie in five weeks.  Thanks Jenna!

Does Ironman NZ appeal to you?  If so, registrations for the 2016 race are now online.

Happy training Ironchicks








infinit discount

Ps:  I’m also excited to announce that we have “Infinit Nutrition Australia” onboard as a sponsor for Ironchicks.

All IRONCHICKS will get 10% off their order.

To redeem your 10% off, use the code “ironchicks” when you’re checking out of their online store {visit here}

Valid for Australian orders only.

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6 thoughts on “Ironman NZ – Jenna’s first Ironman”

  1. Congratulations and well done Jenna…It sounds like an amazing and challenging experience…. This was great to read… I’ve just downloaded a training plan for my first half ironman but haven’t decided on one yet. This has given me a push….

  2. Jenna, thank you for sharing your story, I’m training for my 1st Ironman Florida, 11/7/15. Congrats what an amazing accomplishment!!

  3. What a beautiful write up of such an amazing acheivement. I hope you have caught the Ironman bug and have plans to do more Ironman races. Well done, Jenna 🙂

  4. Way to go Jenna!!! Awesome effort, so envious… admire your strength. Glad to see you’re doing well 🙂
    Sandi at Amity X

  5. Loved your post… Im training for IM cozumel and one of my gratest challenge is open Water swim . I Will remember … With every stroke i ‘ll take one bite of the elephant.