Sunday, August 06, 2006

Walking with Relatives

Over the last few years, my sister-in-law and I have bonded over early morning walks during our annual family vacations. Colleen is an avid walker and talked me into joining her long before I enjoyed walking. Whether our families were camping in tents or cabins, hanging out at hotels, or just staying at each others' houses, we would leave while most of the clan was still in bed or barely moving. We don't always go alone and we don't always have a specific distance in mind - we might just walk for 30 min., head to a specific landmark on a trail and back, or loop the neighborhood a few times.

When the entire family gets together just once a year, most of the days are pretty chaotic. These walks are an opportunity to get away from the crowd, burn off some calories, and to talk. Most of the conversation is not particularly important. We update each other on the other sides of our families, talk about our jobs, discuss how fast the various kids are growing, recap the previous night's card game, or hit really important topics like what is for dinner. Even the kids that occasionally join us will talk a little more.

It's not like any other type of walking I do. Marathon training is focused and goal oriented. Joining the members of my walking club is fun, and we chat, but it is still goal oriented.

Walking with relatives is probably more important than any other type of walking I do - we aren't trying to prove anything - it is about getting away and bonding.

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