As the weather warmed and the winds died down this spring the Tractor Athletic Team decided it was time to dust off our running shoes, stretch the kinks out, and hit the road. Our goals were simple. First: we wanted to get ready for bathing suit season. Second: we wanted to be able to subtly brag to all of our co-workers who refuse to run with us. Third (and most importantly): we wanted another reason to get together and drink beer.
However, justifying running with looking sexier, feeling superior, and drinking beer wasn’t always enough to get us out of bed at the crack of noon. We realized we needed more concrete goals. So we decided – after a number of hard ciders – to enter 3 races in 3 weeks. Before the buzz could fade we hit the internet and signed up for a 5k, an obstacle course run, and a 10k. The Tractor Athletic Team was now committed to running one race every Sunday for 3 weeks.
Our training began immediately. To begin, we made sure to pump each other up every night with copious high-fives and war-cries. Next, we started setting our alarms for 11 a.m. every day and forcing ourselves out of bed for training runs followed by training beers at the Tap Room. After a few weeks of this grueling preparation, the training runs were getting easier, our bathing suits were fitting great, and our co-workers were sick of all the bragging and high-fiving.
It was time to put up or shut up.
Race #1 was one of the popular “color runs” where race volunteers spray runners with colored water and pelt them with dyed corn starch. We finished the race in sweaty, vibrant hues and felt like we could conquer the world. But things were only going to get tougher.
Race #2 was a mud-pit filled, five kilometer, “obstacle run.” Our confidence from the week before was quickly shattered as we approached the first climbing wall, caked in mud and out of breath from the strenuous jogging. But, after we gave almost all we had, this race also fell under our sneakers. We celebrated long and hard that night.
Race #3 was the most conventional but probably also the most difficult – it was a 10 kilometer road race through the Albuquerque Bosque to help support our local zoo. 6.4 miles. 11264 yards. The course threw everything at us that day: inclines, declines, strong winds, too-small cups at the water stations. One of our team-mates was even shorted a safety pin in his race packet – he had to pin his bib on with only three! But we struggled. We persevered. We conquered that course.
Then … we partied. Our grueling month was over. Will we try something like this again? Knowing that we, mere bartenders, could rise to the very peaks of human accomplishment and gaze down at the paths we had slowly jogged to get there – I can confidently say “maybe.”
– Jon and the Tractor Athletic Team