Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Polar Plungers

Team TFT: Sue, Diane, Lori, Sarah, Dustin, Lizzy, Yvonne

We did it! Last Saturday, we joined about 400 other fun-loving individuals for the Polar Plunge fundraiser for Special Olympics. We ended up with 7 people on our team, and raised over $1000 for the cause, bringing along cash and checks to add to your online contributions. Thanks to everyone that sponsored us for the event.

It was a balmy 30 degrees on Saturday, and, unfortunately for us, especially those of us at the end of the jumping queue, breeeeezy. See all of these people? Yeah, we were so behind them in line that we could wander around and take their photos.

In all, we wandered around in shorts and tights for about 90  minutes before we were called to jump. Plenty of time to watch the freezing jumpers before us, to heighten our anxiety and fear, and to lose any shred of body heat we'd stored up for the occasion.

We were finally put "on deck" to jump before a team named "Ice, Ice Baby." We stood holding hands and shaking and giggling, and then I just remember us moving toward the water, and then we were screaming.
And screaming.

And screaming. I have to note here that jumping into ice water isn't really like jumping into cold water. You know, that "gahhhhh!" feeling when you jump into a cool pool on a hot day? You're freezing and then you acclimate and think the water's lovely! Come on in!

Yeah, it's nothing like that.

It's more like you're moving forward on dry land, and then you have a sudden sensation that you are made of concrete, and then you just lose your mind. Seriously. Sarah, upon seeing the photo above, asked me "what we were doing with our hands in the air?" I had no idea; when we got out, someone us complimented on the little dance we did. We did? We must have. And I haven't cleared with everyone on the team, but several of us don't remember getting out of the water at all. Hm. We must have.

Other than that? Well your feet are so cold that you can't bend your toes to walk, so you tromp up to the changing rooms like Frankenstein. You get into the changing room, which is just one big open room, and you strip down with all of the other naked stripper-downers. Everyone is in shock, and yet so delirious for any dry article of clothing that no one thinks anything about all of this nakedness with strangers. Were we just nude with 60 other nude women? We must have been.

(The changing rooms were gender assigned, people. Don't go signing up for next year just for the changing room experience.)

Anyway, on to your dry clothing that I hope you remembered to bring. You are so cold that a thin dry t-shirt feels like heaven. Once you manage to get the rest covered up, you declare yourself "not even cold!" Wow, That wasn't so bad! I'm not even cold! What a surprise! I thought this would be much worse! Let's do it again next year!

You hug your teammates goodbye, jump in the car, and drive back into town.

Well, that's how it happened with us. Di and I rode together, so we elatedly decided to celebrate the day with a nice bowl of hot soup, even though we were not even cold.

We arrived back in Champaign in 15 minutes, got out of the car....and discovered immediately that our core body temperatures had dropped enough that there was just nothing to warm us once we were back in the wind. Shivering commenced immediately, and I actually ran back to the car for a blanket, and we shared it under the table.

We ordered pho, which consists of a lot of hot, hot broth. It was just what the doctor ordered on the "heat you up" phase of the after-plunge. However, halfway through the soup, Diane and I both suddenly felt like this:

Exhauuuuusted. Team concensus was that everyone was either sleeping or very wishful for a nap Saturday afternoon. (Except for Dustin. He's 18. Enough said.)

Despite a bit of mild hypothermia, and a sleepy Saturday, WE HAD A BLAST at the Polar Plunge, and it was all for such a great cause. I was giddy and laughing all weekend remembering costumes and antics, and, quite honestly, feeling a bit of smug self-righteousness. Ha! I jumped into ice water! So there! (Who's jealous?)

We're already establishing next year's team, and have a few new jumpers. I can hardly wait; I want to compare the experience without the anxiety factor: I wonder if I'll remember more, or be more focused in the next jump, or if I'll just freeze my gourd again, and not remember a thing.

If you want to join our team next year, hit me up. If the idea of hypothermia isn't cranking you, consider this: You'll get a rockin' sweatshirt just for participating. A sweatshirt, people, a badge of crazy honor!

Special thanks to Di's Granddaughter, Kaylin, who at my request, painted up a costume for me, when I was too busy to.

Sign up sheet for next year...well, leave a comment, and I'll add your name to the team!


  1. You always make me smile so big.

  2. Gheeez...I'm shivering all over again! was definitely a good time..I'm up for it again next year..and another 5 gallons of HOT tea! :-)

  3. Congrats on taking the plunge and raising all that money for the Special Olympics. Great job!

  4. Yeah, don't sign me up. But I love this post. I'm cold just reading it :)

  5. But your kids will join, right?


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