Polar Plunge 2011

Well, I survived the Polar Plunge.  It ended up being a lot of fun and is something that I think I will make an annual tradition.  Before I get into the details, I want to thank everyone who sponsored me and donated to Special Olympics Utah.  I set a goal to raise $250 and ended up with a total of $300!  You guys are awesome!

We got up early, by Saturday standards, this morning and drove up to Deer Creek reservoir where the Polar Plunge was held.  The weather was actually pretty nice at our house this morning as we were getting to leave, but once we started up Parley's Canyon it started to snow.  As we turned off onto Highway 40, the snow got worse and I was getting worried that my family was going to get soaked while they watched from the ice.  Luckily the snow had mostly stopped by the time we got to Heber.

After checking in and getting a wristband, we walked down the boat ramp to where a hole had been cut in the ice.  There was a big inflatable polar bear set up that was looking right into the hole.  I was amazed at how thick the ice was!  It was easily over a foot thick and the huge blocks of ice were piled up around where the hole had been cut.  Hats off to whoever cut the hole in the shape of Utah...that was a nice touch!

After the rest of my family arrived, my brother Jake (who I had talked into jumping with me) and I walked down to the hole to drop in my thermometer.  There was an oily slick on the top of the water that must have come from whatever machinery they used to cut the ice blocks and I made a mental note to not be the first one to jump in, hoping that some of the oil slick would be splashed out before I took my plunge.  I thought the water would be about 38 degrees or so, but according to my thermometer it was 36!  I made a point not to touch the water when I was taking the temperature so I wouldn't psych myself out.

The event included a costume contest that was pretty entertaining to watch.  There was a guy dressed up like a chicken, another guy as a pig, a group of guys dressed as the Village People, some guys in grass skirts and coconut bras and a bunch of others.  I didn't see who won, but the guy in the chicken suit was awesome!

With the contest over, it was time for everyone to head down to the water.  A kind of informal line formed and people started jumping right away.  I had been watching some videos of past Polar Plunges leading up to today and was surprised that hardly anyone was screaming after coming out of the water.  Other than a few curse words, there really was not a lot of screaming going on at the event either.

With only a couple guys ahead of us, we started to take off our warm clothes and pile them in the snow.  No one had any idea that I was wearing a polka dot Speedo because I had been bundled up and didn't enter the costume contest.  It was pretty funny when the crowd slowly realized that they was a near-naked guy walking up to the platform.  They started clapping and cheering and the announcer said something about me being all the way from Australia (not sure why he associated a chubby guy in a Speedo with being from Australia...).
I started jogging through the snow, towards the hole in the ice.  I wanted to dive headfirst but, after seeing how shallow the water was, I decided to go with a classic cannonball.  I hit the water and was immediately wrapped in cold.  The cold water stung my skin and I found myself gasping for air when my head came out of the water.  I guess that is why no one screams when they come out of the water, they are too busy trying to get air back in their lungs.  The water was cold...really cold, but it was not as bad as I had imagined it would be.

After climbing up the ladder and out of the water, I immediately felt better and ran to where my family was watching and Sabrina handed me a big towel.  The worst part of the Plunge was getting out and walking through, and standing barefoot in, the snow.  My feet burned.

After watching the rest of the "plungers" jump into the water, Jake and I decided we might as well do it again while we were there.  We ran back through the snow and each took another plunge.

I had a smile on my face all morning from participating in this year's Polar Plunge.  My family and I had a great time and I look forward to making the Polar Plunge an annual tradition.  I was happy to have a part in helping to raise money for Special Olympics Utah.  Thanks again to everyone who helped me reach my fundraising goal!

1 comment:

Jake Green said...

I'll join you in an annual plunge!!! That was awesome!!!