The Polar Bear Plunge

Posted by on January 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm :: 6 Comments

I am now famous, very famous. How did I accomplish this meteoric rise to stardom? I will have to backtrack about a year to give you the full story on how it all started.

Last December, during the course of casual conversation, it was discovered that Jason’s brother Jeremy and our friend Lauren both had aspirations of participating in a polar plunge. For those of you not familiar with the concept of a polar plunge it basically entails jumping into a nearly frozen body of water in the middle of winter sometimes to benefit a charity and sometimes just to say you did. Because Jeremy and Lauren were both interested in plunging, and Jason seemed hip on the idea as well, it was decided that they should all plunge together. I had never before considered participating in such a chilly activity so I only halfheartedly agreed to maybe do it with them.

This is the frosty pond we jumped in. It was a bit shallow in places but it fit the freezing bill just fine.

Lauren found an upcoming local plunge that they could all freeze themselves in, an annual event, known as the Polar Bear Plunge, taking place at noon on New Year’s Day at a pond in Springville. The boys talked big but when it came time to commit they faltered. Lauren, who is obviously tougher than those weaklings, ended up doing it without them.

Before plunge = bundled up, dry, NOT toasty. After plunge = I don't even want to go there.

Although I had been wishy-washy about participating in the plunge last year, this year, after some contemplation, I was ready to jump in-metaphorically and literally. Since Lauren had enjoyed this event so much last year she wanted to do it again and I told her that with or without my husband I was in. Jason, perceiving that the gauntlet had been thrown to him, reluctantly decided to be a participant as well. We also found another friend, Jacob, with enough guts or stupidity to join us.

I love how ridiculous Jason looks in this picture.

I must admit that even though I was bound and determined to do the plunge I was a little apprehensive about it. A super cold front settled over Utah a few days before the event and temperatures were only predicted to reach a high of about 17 degrees Fahrenheit on New Year’s Day; this did not help to ease my anxiety. I got myself pretty worked up about it all and the night before the event I had dreams that resembled the last scene in Titanic, minus the door.

This is the picture of me that ended up in the paper. It was taken by Laura Seitz of the Deseret News.

The plunge turned out to be a lot less miserable and much more enjoyable than I had envisioned but we did encounter a few unexpected hurdles. We jumpers were mistakenly given a premature countdown so after we all had hurried and stripped down to our swimsuits we had to wait around for a few more minutes in the 12 degree winter air for the real countdown to begin. Brrr! But even though we were standing on the snowy banks of a frigid pond wearing practically nothing but our skimpies we were all smiling and joking around. It’s hard not to smile when you are doing something so ridiculous even if you can’t feel your feet.

This photo (also taken by Laura Seitz) of a random plunger looks pretty awesome. That's why I added it to my post even though I have no idea who the guy is.

When we finally did get the go-ahead to jump into the water Jacob rashly bolted in right on top of some ice and then bolted out again so quickly the rest of us hadn’t even had a chance to get wet yet. His rapid descent into ice infested waters resulted in a number of painful looking cuts on one of his calves. But on the upside, he was too frozen to feel the hurt and didn’t even notice that he was bleeding for a while. Jason, unlike Jacob, took his sweet time getting into the water and then refused to get wet above his bellybutton; that was the limit of his courage. He says it was the coldest water he has ever felt in his life. Lauren and I vowed to be braver than my hubby and we took a big dip simultaneously. I made it up to my shoulders while Lauren was bolder and covered all but the top of her head with the glacial waters.

Jacob emerged with a huge wad of pond scum stuck in his crack. Yuck!

I anticipated that emerging sopping wet from the pond into the below freezing air would be the worst part of the experience but it actually wasn’t too bad. There was a pleasant fire in a pit near the water’s shore that helped chase the chills away. My toes had the hardest time warming back up; they were painfully frozen for at least half an hour after the plunge. When Jason and I got home we both hopped right into hot showers. It was then that we realized just how cold we actually were; our skin itched and burned as it returned to normal temperatures.

So what does my newfound fame have to do with the experience I just relayed? The plunge was covered by newspapers and, unknown to me at the time, the local news. Although I would estimate that there were probably about 20-30 people at the plunge, a clip of me and Lauren dipping ended up on the nightly news. Additionally, a close-up of me was found in the newspaper the next day. Yup, I’m famous. Don’t be jealous just because you aren’t a masochistic celebrity like me.

6 Comments

  • Cam says:

    “When Jason and I got home we both hopped right into hot showers” So… this is a little obtuse… different showers? Yeah. That’s what I’m taking away from this post. Also, next year call me. I will definitely come… and watch. 🙂

  • Cam says:

    Oh wow. I just reread that. I meant I’ll come watch the plunge. But I’ll watch you guys shower too- I’m not picky.

  • Sue says:

    You guys are totally awesome. I don’t think I will ever take the plunge but I will come and watch though.

  • Rachel says:

    You are all in luck! We are plunging again on February 12th at a benefit for the Special Olympics. You can come watch and you can even donate money to our team for the cause. Lucky you! Contact me for any or all of the details.

  • Rachel says:

    Oh and Cam, just to satisfy your curiosity, the showers were separate. We were covered in duck pond filth…that isn’t really an aphrodisiac.

  • Cam says:

    Alright- the duck pond filth is a definite turn off. And yet…

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