Several years ago, my friend Elizabeth Burke and I rowed twice a week through the Seattle winter. We ventured out without fail as dawn was breaking - rowing two single shells or a double. We'd row from the Fremont Bridge to the Chittenden Locks and back, or maybe across Lake Union and on to Lake Washington. Sometimes we'd come back to our home at the Lake Washington Rowing Club and wipe the ice off our boats. But we always came back with an irrefutable sense of moral superiority! We'd done it again!

Rowing - particularly Rowing Through the Winter - provides a richness of metaphors...instructive in my life as a Family Physician and the Home Dialysis CarePartner for my profoundly ill husband, Steve Williams. Now that Steve is gone, rowing reminds me of consistency and focus - so critical during grieving. Rowing requires balance, as does my life.

Row with me this winter. Linda Gromko, MD

Friday, August 12, 2011

First Time in a Pair - and a Sighting of the Ocean Rowers!

What a fabulous morning! Five a.m. proved to be way too early for most on this foggy August morning, but there were two pairs among our tiny turnout. I'd never rowed a pair before.

But, with lights on our boats, our two pairs ventured out. Pairs can be tippy; they are the ultimate balance exercise! Now, I've been in plenty of tippy boats before in sculling - and I've certainly tipped them, too.

But Caroline and I got our rhythm to match quickly. A tugboat aligned perpendicular to the massive gravel barge across from SPU cast out a perilous wake and pushed us up against a pleasure boat. We had to maneuver quickly to recapture our one oar which was sliding under the pleasure boat. But, we managed.

Caroline - a fisheries researcher - pointed out the "sea smoke" rising from the water - the product of warm water colliding against cooler air. We went on to the locks.

On our way back to the Ballard Bridge, we came upon the team that rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in their huge open water boat. They are gearing up for another ocean voyage, this time from mid Africa to South America. Today, they are working on flip tests!

Our two pairs had a wonderful morning. No disasters, and no seriously close calls. I am enjoying the adventure of trying different boats and different rowing combinations. Without a sculling foundation, though, I can appreciate that the pair could be the ultimate in "instant karma!"

Take care,
Linda Gromko, MD

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