By Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson

1st Cavalry Division public affairs

Three officers from the 41st Fires Brigade jump-started their day with a little exercise as they competed Sunday in the Stillhouse Hollow Triathlon at Dana Peak Park.

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 the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor for sports medicine.

All proceeds from the race were donated to the St. Jude Children's Hospital.

Tucker coordinated the race as an internship requirement. Nearly 100 competitors gathered to push their bodies to new physical limits or prove to themselves 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 event.

"This triathlon was definitely a challenge for me," said 2nd Lt. Ruth Acosta, Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment. "I wanted to 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.

Each 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. "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 said she was afraid to swim in open water like lakes and oceans, but if people want to be competitors, they have to push themselves through any obstacles that come their way.

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

"Set reasonable goals and do the training that you can do to reach those goals," said Capt. Oggy Nash, the fires control officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery. "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 their accomplishments.

After a quick stop for breakfast, the officers had the rest of the day to recover and prepare for Monday morning's physical training session.

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