Friday, January 02, 2009

TASK #104 - I took the ultimate Polar Bear Plunge

Ok, I have to admit, this was easily one of the toughest challenges yet...well, not difficult, just really painful! lol...

Here's how it went down...
I pretty much did everything wrong! haha
We partied til 5am, slept for a few hours, then packed a bag with minimal clothes and a couple of towels, threw them into the car and drove to the beach.
Unfortunately we got there so late the whole lakefront was bumper to bumper with cars, so we had to park up on top of a hill a good 3 blocks from the water. Walking down the hill we witnessed why I can only describe as mayhem! There must have been a thousand people down there, mixed in with firetrucks, ambulances, police cars, etc. Walking down to the plateau across from the beach I spotted tents along the beach and news crews prepping for the big moment. This was much more exciting and massive than I had was a circus. And yes, I wanted to be a part of it.
So I called my friend, he told us that everyone else was huddled in his van keeping warm. By the time we found them it was time to head to the beach. We aimed for the Budweiser tent and found another friend who'd set up blankets for us to drop our bags.
We were surrounded by college kids donning way too skimpy bikinis, people in pajamas, someone in a Shrek costume, lol, and a friend of our group dressed as Elvis (he made it into the news, thank you very much!)
My best friend wore his costume, a disco era roller skater, with skates and a wig and mini shorts that said LO-VE on his ass. Too funny!

Anyways, I went to check out the shoreline. Oh my god, it was an iceshelf and the waves were crashing into it! There would be no running out into the beach water and playfully frolicking; this was gonna be a jump - yikes!! Luckily the fire dept had hooked ladders into the icy edge so we could get out after...haha. that was comforting! And there were divers out there too; waiting to scoop us up if they saw us get dragged down. Another comforting!

By the time I made it back to camp to let everyone know how bad this was gonna be a horn sounded! It was time!! People screamed like it was a WWII air raid and then the crowd moved like a wave toward the ice. talk about a rush!

Me and my peeps stripped down to our essentials and aimed for the front. It was a battle to get to it. There must have been a thousand onlookers and designated photographers blocking the way for every courageous (nutjob) plunger. Too funny, I just called myself a plunger!! lol.

Anyways, we made it to the front and literally crawled on the ice to the edge. People were hopping and flopping in left and right. Some screamed, some yalped (remember Dead Poets Society). I on the other hand just hoped in and screamed like a little girl as soon as the cold waters wrapped around me. I saw people moving toward the waves and I decided "the hell with this, I'm going for it!" that was until a wave hit me smack in the face. was over at that point. I'm like, "hell no, this aint even right. my ancestors are from the rainforest...I gotta get up out of this!!" I looked around to get my bearings and saw my friend Jen already out. Then saw Angelica, who looked like she was about to die, so I grabbed her to get her out, and we followed my best friend Clarence, who was climbing up the ice bank like he was frickin spiderman!

So yeah, I lasted a whole two minutes in there. lol. After we all got out we ran for our bags to dry off and change. Bent over trying to take off my shoes and socks was nothing less than! it was at that glorious point that someone yelled "holy, look at Pablo's ass!" Apparently my ass was steaming to the point that it looked like it was on fire! Haha, I wish! "Even in this weather he's got a hot ass!" Ok, yes, these are the kinda people I hang with! no comments on that! I was oblivious to all that, I just wanted to get dressed and back to the car ASAP.
It's at that point that I realized my biggest mistake, I forgot to pack extra shoes. I dived in with my shoes and didn't have spares! OMG!!! All I could do was put on every sock I could find in my gym bag and hope for the best. Looking out at my path I realized I was in trouble. There was snow everywhere. Talk about a terrible walk...I had to walk/run 3 blocks in snow with socks on. That was almost worse than the dive...

Anyways...we made it back to the car...peeled our frozen socks off and let our feet bask in the blowing warmth of my cars heaters. If it smelled like wet feet in there I didn't notice or care... at that moment I was in heaven. Ah...

We drove home, ran to the house barefooted on the snow, and stripped. I took a hot shower immediately. Best damn shower I ever took, and I didn't even use soap...haha.

So that was my first, and probably last, Polar Plunge experience. I can't say I'd recommend it, but I did get a great feeling just knowing that I said I would and I did. And finishing a challenge the first day of the new year - there's something to that. Makes me feel like this could really be a great year for me.

What it taught me?
1. Sticking to your word, to yourself and others, is inherently empowering.
2. Surpassing your assumed limits is almost always a good thing
3. Challenges are all good, but when you know they're coming, be prepared, don't be an idiot!
4. I'm a crazy bastard...haha...but we only live once, so live life, don't sleep-walk through it, take it by the frozen cojones!

So what's next? A marathon, skydiving, start a business, skinny-dipping...??? You'll have to tune in to find out! :)



Anonymous said...

Not exactly the Polar Plunge, but I plan to try to do the No Pants Subway Ride in DC next weekend - wish me luck!

Pablo Baez said...

Too funny J...good luck with that! Hey, if you're lucky you'll get arrested and then you can cross that off your list too! :)