The drizzle at 6 a.m. called me back to bed, but I resisted and headed down to North Beach -- where more than 350 women athletes got themselves psyched for the inaugural Aflac Iron Girl Racine Triathlon.
To all I spoke to, the weather was a plus -- well, maybe not the 68-degree Lake Michigan water temperature, but at least there was no stifling heat.
The race got off without a hitch, four divisions separated by age and about five minutes, starting at 7 a.m. First was an 800-meter swim, followed by a 30K bike race and a 5K run.
First finisher in slightly more than an hour was Lauren "Shark" Jensen, 43, of Muskego, who led all the way. Jenson, a pro athlete, has a Racine connection: her husband, Todd, is a Horlick High School graduate. She is a professional triathlete and physical therapist and has been teaching swimming and coaching athletes for over 20 years. She's finished second or third in half a dozen triathlons so far this year.
Second across the finish line was Shirley Crocker, 52, of Madison, seen at right.
The official results show: First, Lauren Birkel, 1:06:16; Second, Lauren Jensen, 1:06:28; Third, Stacey Kiefer, 1:07:08.