A week ago I signed up to do the Polar Plunge, a yearly fundraiser for the Special Olympics. Thank you so much to everyone who donated. You not only helped me meet my goal, you helped me surpass it, and for that I can not thank you enough.
I expected to wake up Sunday feeling exhilarated, but I actually felt kind of lonely. I was doing the plunge alone, and while going solo probably had some sort of deeper meaning, like how we are stronger when we take the plunges of life alone, or something wise and inspiring like that, I didn’t feel strong. I felt lonely and was a little bummed that I’d be standing in line alone, running down the sand alone, and then freezing my ass off alone.
Once I got to the beach, I felt better. There was such an infectious sense of excitement and party surrounding the event, and I happily got sucked into the fun.
My husband and I found one of the party tents, which had food and face painting. I hadn’t intended on getting my face painted, but I couldn’t resist when I saw how awesome the artist’s work was.
After partaking in some of the extra fun, we went down to the waters edge and watched some of the other plungers run in. There were all sorts of costumes, including pirates, the cast of the Wizard of Oz, and even a group determined to “Occupy Lake Michigan”; all of them looked miserable as they exited the water and accepted the free towel.
Eventually it was my turn to line up. With signing up on such short notice, I ran out of time to put together a costume, so I settled for my snow boots ( we had to wear shoes), my bathing suit, and a winter hat. I was stylin’.
I got in line behind a girl dressed as bat girl and in front of a woman in a gorilla costume. We exchanged casual small talk as we waited in the heated tent, which helped me to get my mind off of what I was about to do. But as I stepped outside and felt the impact of the 34 degree temps (which felt like 25 degrees) for the first time all day, the nerves came rushing back.
“So plungers,” the announcer said right before sending us down. “Are you ready for the 37 degree water?” He said it joyfully, laughing almost. Evil. Pure evil.
And then we were off! I started running and I found myself yelling, “Why am I doing this?! Why am I doing this?!” all the way down to the water; the onlookers seemed to appreciate that. Eventually I made it to the water’s edge and jumped in.
It was so cold. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it was still so damn cold.
I’m glad I took this risk. Taking the Polar Plunge is something I’ve wanted to do for years and the fact that I’ve checked that off my life list is pretty awesome.
For all of you who are jealous, you should man-up and join me next year.