There are many firsts for most Marine second lieutenants including first rank, duty station and for some, leading Marines.
Establishing a comfortable routine for new officers can take some time, but not for 2nd Lt. Delaney T. Bourlakov, adjutant, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
With less than six months aboard the installation, Bourlakov has welcomed the challenges the Marine Corps has to offer and has found competition to be a big part of the Marine Corps lifestyle.
One of the ways she maintains her physical fitness is using the challenging High Intensity Tactical Training.
Bourlakov, who describes herself as having a competitive nature, will represent MCLB Albany at the second annual High Intensity Tactical Training Athlete Championship, Aug. 15-18, at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, California.
High Intensity Tactical Training is a comprehensive strength and conditioning program that provides programming, facilities and education for active-duty and reserve Marines. It focuses on physical resiliency and combat readiness, according to www.usmc-mccs.org/services/fitness/high-intensity-tactical-training.
Bourlakov will be among 35 active-duty Marines to compete in the event, with only one male and one female Marine to be crowned the 2016 “Ultimate Tactical Athlete.”
Bourlakov, 23, has been training for her upcoming competition for less than a month.
Understanding preparation is key for her fast approaching competition; Bourlakov has been attending HITT classes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during lunch.
During the sessions, she has worked on her technique, form, and built up her strength with weight training.
“This is part of the reason why I joined the Marine Corps, because I love the challenge,” she added. “When presented with a challenge, I want to go in as ready as possible.”
Her overall goal is to represent MCLB Albany, herself, her husband and family well at the competition.
“Everyone loves to win,” she said. “At the same time, because I am not a professional at HITT, it is all new to me. I am not going to make winning the expectation and be completely crushed if I don’t win. A lot of the females have been doing (HITT) for years.”
“I definitely feel more confident now than I did when I first (started the HITT training),” she continued. “Progress has been made in the short month I have been doing this and I am almost there.
“I’m giving it my absolutely best shot and will walk away knowing, as my dad would say, ‘you left everything on the court,’” Bourlakov, who can be found playing basketball in the gym when not doing HITT, said.
She admitted training for HITT has been tough because she is a cross-country runner.
Harlon “Wayne” Jordan, HITT instructor, Marine Corps Community Services, MCLB Albany, said a runner has to have endurance and that will benefit Bourlakov at the competition.
“Being a Marine, she is in fit condition, but the kind of training needed for the HITT competition is completely different,” Jordan said. “High Intensity Tactical Training pushes the endurance strengths to levels that you would not normally pursue unless you are an extreme athlete.”
“She will be competing against the fittest Marines in the country, which includes martial arts instructors and (other fitness) fanatics, people that have been training for years,” he added.
Jordan describes Bourlakov as being extremely tough and is not going to let anything beat her.
“She has got that Marine heart, a heart that does not want to quit,” Jordan added. “She has excelled more than anybody that I have seen in that short period of time because she knows she has to.”
As her trainer, he said he did not know anybody that has given more than she has.
“She is going to give it her all and that is all you can ask from any competitor,” he added. “(Considering) that she is so new to the sport and having to jam so much training in such a short time, she has handled it well and is getting better daily.
“She will do well and whatever happens at the competition, her family and everyone here on base should be very proud of what she accomplished in such a short amount of time,” he concluded.
Bourlakov also participates in the Aquatics Maximum Power Intense Training at the Base Pool Tuesday mornings when she can because it gives her a break from the Southwest Georgia heat.
In addition, she is training for her gray belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program every morning from 4:30-6:30 a.m.
According to Bourlakov, if she can stay on track, she will receive her gray belt Aug. 12, just before leaving for the HITT competition.
Also, what has helped her in preparing for the competition is a sibling rivalry.
“My sister and I are the most competitive people absolutely possible,” Bourlakov admitted. “Because I've been doing HITT training, my sister has started to compete in Spartan races. She is three years younger than me, but is on her way to being commissioned as an officer in the Army.
“It is fun and competition keeps us both pushing each other,” she said. “Our training has become a very healthy, sisterly, dynamic rivalry.”
Bourlakov also credits her husband, 2nd Lt. Grisha Bourlakov, special tactics officer, United States Air Force, stationed at Hurlburt Field, Florida, in helping her prepare for the competition.
“(I) call him the beast,” she said. “So when I train with him on the weekends when we visit each other and get completely smoked, and he says ‘you're getting better,’ that’s a great feeling knowing that he is just as much excited about the competition as much as I am.”