I have debated the concept of tribes for many years. This is the group of people that you share a passion with, and that will support you and challenge you to be better. I’ve often thought that tribes were rather odd and intense. I believed that joining a tribe meant you were one of the most passionate and knowledgeable individuals in that topic.
My aunt Julie is this “super crazy” ultra runner. She’s finished many 100-mile races, countless marathons, and too many local races to remember. She truly is an inspiration to many. Not only does she always finish strong, but she is always smiling. Always! If you ask her how she does it, she’ll often talk about her tribe. In fact, when she reflects on her races in public posts, she always thanks her tribe and her pacers. Her tribe, or in other words, the few other avid runners that pursue racing 100 miles in under 24 hours, have inspired her and pushed her to inspire others. Each member genuinely wants you to succeed and they will do everything in their power to help you meet those goals. She’ll always say “I couldn’t do it without my pacers and my tribe”.
Finding tribes can be hard. Lately, I’ve been trying to branch out and meet new friends. In particular, I’ve been searching for a good group of runners to join. I recently decided to attend a “Girls Night Out” event at the local running store. This was a big step for me because I knew this would take me outside of my comfort zone. There was food, prizes, and a bunch of lovely ladies who enjoyed running.
There was one problem. I was the newbie and most of the other ladies knew each other well. They had run together, shopped together, and spent time getting to know and invest in one another’s goals. It felt clear to me that I was an outsider.
There was one woman who had approached me and introduced herself. We hit it off from the beginning. It only took one person to make me feel welcomed. She asked about my goals, where I lived, and where I wanted to run. She was genuinely curious about my progress and goals. What started as an awkward and uncomfortable event, quickly become more enjoyable.
As I’ve reflected on my experience with finding tribes, I am reminded that this can feel like work in the beginning. Relationships take time and finding your tribe can take even longer. I’m thankful for the friendly faces and for the woman who was brave enough to connect with a girl who felt alone and uncomfortable. It’s those small interactions that really make all the difference.