One Saturday morning in November 2016, an article in the Kansa City Star caught my attention. (http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/ink/article112541642.html) It was about a group of crazy people – they called themselves a “tribe” – who met every Wednesday morning at the Liberty Memorial to exercise. A month earlier, I’d been diagnosed with what amounted to over-training, to the point where blood tests showed I was breaking down muscle tissue. Turns out, training every day at race pace is not a good idea.
So I had taken October off, no workouts except yoga, to recover, and was looking for a way to get back into a training routine, when I saw the article. I thought, “This is PERFECT.” I live near the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum and work downtown, so I drive past the Liberty Memorial every day on my way to work. We have a shower in our office – why not stop by next Wednesday at 6:29 and check out this “tribe”?
Primarily a runner, I ran alone. Years ago I joined a running group to train for a marathon, but didn’t much care for it. I wasn’t sure a group thing was for me. I was wrong.
At my first workout, I had to introduce myself to the group, near the tower. We “bounced” and shouted; I tried to follow along as best I could (it took me a couple of workouts to get the response right to the “WHO ARE WE? NPKC!” call-response). Then the group headed down the steps to the base of the memorial on the north side — I actually got lost immediately, mistakenly following someone from the 5:29 group heading toward their car near Union Station. They pointed me back up the hill, I pretended like, “Yeah, I meant to do that,” and jumped in with the rest of the group.
The workouts themselves are a great mix of aerobic/anaerobic exercises, some body weight work, some running, and LOTS of stairs. I love the diversity of group. I’m older than most, but I feel right at home with tribe members younger than my two children. The fitness level in the group ranges from the insane John “Run through the desert and up a mountain” Kohler to folks who may have to walk from time to time. But everyone’s equal in terms of effort – we all work hard at our own fitness level, and people push and encourage each other throughout the workout.
I make it every Wednesday I’m in town (and not down with the flu). The camaraderie is great. The workouts are almost secondary now – you “just show up” to see your friends, and – oh yeah, there’s a workout!
-Bert BraudShare via socials: