FORT HOOD, Texas--Several officers from the 41st Fires Brigade jumped-off the start of their day with a little exercise as they competed in the Stillhouse Hollow Triathlon held at Dana Peak Park, July 10.

The three Rail Gunner officers made their way to the start-line in anticipation of the horn signaling the start of the triathlon. The race consisted of a half-mile swim, a 15.5-mile bike ride, and a 3.01-mile run. The Stillhouse Hollow Triathlon was hosted by Simone Tucker, a graduate student attending Mary Hardin Baylor for sports medicine. All proceeds from the race were donated to the St. Jude Children's Hospital.

Tucker, the race director, coordinated the race as an internship requirement. Nearly 100 competitors gathered to push their bodies to new physical limits or just to prove to themselves that they could complete a triathlon.

"Everybody has different reasons to compete," said Tucker who is also a certified running coach. "For me, there's nothing like competing in a triathlon. It's a great feeling to be able to say that I've completed all three events."

The officers from the 41st Fires Brigade were ready to test their physical readiness by taking on the triathlon.

"This triathlon was definitely a challenge for me," said 2nd Lt. Ruth Acosta, Miami native, Battery B, 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery, 41st Fires Bde. "I wanted test my limits and try something new. At the start of the race, I thought, 'What did I get myself into?' but when that horn goes off, you can't think about it and you just have to let your adrenaline take over."

By the time the officers crossed the finish-line, they were proud of their accomplishment and their physical capabilities. Although each officer agreed that if Soldiers wanted to compete for a sporting event like a triathlon, they would need more than unit physical fitness training.

"I trained for about a month," said 1st Lt. Emily Vetter, headquarters and headquarters battery, 41st Fires Bde. "I should have taken at least two months to train though. But I'm still proud of myself for being able to make it all the way. Plus, this was my first triathlon."

Vetter stated that she was afraid to swim in open-water like lakes and oceans, but she also said that if you want to be a competitor then you have to push yourself through any obstacle that comes your way.

After the three officers completed their first triathlon, they agreed on a little advice to help others preparing to take on a triathlon.

"Set reasonable goals and do the training that you can do to reach those goals," said Capt. Oggy Nash, Hilton Head Island, S.C. native, the fires control officer for HHB, 41st Fires Bde. "Don't expect to be an 'Ironman' on your first triathlon. Just concentrate on your training, build on each phase, and work toward improving your times."

Nash said that he is typically a good runner, but after 15.5 miles on a bike, the three-mile run seemed like a marathon.

By the end of the triathlon, the Rail Gunner officers were happy with their performances and proud of each other for making it through their first triathlon. After a quick stop for breakfast, the officers had the rest of the day to recover and prepare for Monday morning's PT session.