On New Years Day the Hubbo and I and some of our equally insane friends decided to get a little crazy. And by a little crazy I really mean ridiculously cold! We ran a little 2 mile race put on by TATUR called the Polar Bear Plunge here in Tulsa.
We heard about this race from our Ginger Friend Mike who did it on NYD 2013. Unfortunately, the Hubbo and I were out of town so we couldn't join him then, but we knew that we'd do it this year! We even managed to convince our friends, Amber, Jochen, Lindsay, Sean, and Mindy to join us. I'm pretty sure after they jumped into that first frigid pool, we were removed from their Christmas card list! :) Love you guys!
This race is unlike any I've ever participated in. Here's how it works:
3 Pools. 2 Miles. 1 Medal.
They have 2 heats. (Heat may be the wrong word for this being as we were jumping into ice cold water) They have a 1:00pm and 1:30pm start time. You know, so you don't have to get up too early if you are hung over. Well played, TATUR, well played!
The race is a total of 2 miles. You run the first 1.25 miles on a mostly concrete trail on the west side of Tulsa. Then you jump in a series of 3 pools (yes you have to jump into cold water more than once!) and on the third and final pool you have to retrieve your giant medal from the bottom! (How twisted is that!?!) Plus, floating in the third pool are all kinds of frosty adult beverages you can pick up and take with you to the finish line. You know, to help you warm up...
The first mile is the longest mile ever! It could be that I haven't ran in a while, or that I was running in water socks, or the adrenaline from knowing I had to jump into 3 ice cold pools, but either way it took forever!
Jochen and The Hubbo ran together and Amber and I ran together in the first heat. Lindsay, Mindy and Sean were in the second heat.
When Amber and I got to the first pool I was surprised to see that no one was hesitating to jump in, so off we went, holding hands and feet first! Holy freaking cow on a cracker! That was the biggest shock ever! I came up for air and I could not breathe! I was trying really hard but the water was so cold and I was in shock. The swim across the pool to get out must have been like 400 yards or something because it felt like it took forever! I managed to get out and so did Amber so off we went to pool number 2! (See pics below for hilarious shot of Amber and I getting out of the first pool)
On the way to pool number 2, everything feels really weird. You're super cold but kinda warm, you can't feel parts of your body, your clothes are all bunched up in weird places they shouldn't be, and you slowly get your ability to breathe back. And just when you start to feel normal, it's time to jump in again! Ugh!
The second pool people were a little more hesitant but not too bad. I dove in head first into this one so that I would have more momentum to get my to the other end of the pool faster because swimming in water socks is harder than I thought it would be. I felt like I had bricks on my feet.
After pool number 2, we both had to walk a bit for a breathing break and make sure we still had our clothing all situated because you can't feel it and it feels like your pants are falling off, you shirt is coming up, and your underpants are creepin' up! Trust me, it's weird.
When we got to pool number 3, I was dreading it. I hesitated a little bit because I had to come up with a strategy. We knew ahead of time that we had to get our medals from the bottom of the pool and this one was the deepest one of them all. Amber jumped in to go to the bottom at the deep end because there were a lot of medals down there. I decided to dive in and try for one
in the middle. We both ended up getting a medal from the shallow end and I actually picked up two medals by accident. I have no idea why I didn't just drop it and let someone else work to pick it up, but in my mind at the time I was trying to be nice and hand it to someone. By being nice to someone else, I was torturing myself by just standing there forever in the cold water because everyone was so focused on finding a medal they couldn't hear me trying to hand it to them. The volunteer even asked me if I was just going to stand there all day and hand out medals? Really I think he was saying..."Get out of the pool you moron!" Finally I just handed it to some girl and I got out.
We had our medals and we took off for the finish line which was probably .1 mile away from the last pool. Amber and I finished together and our time was 30:16. Probably would have come in under 30 minutes if I didn't try to hand out medals in the 3rd pool like an idiot and freeze my ass off.
A lot of people said we were crazy for doing this. I don't disagree with them at all. It is a little crazy, but it was a lot of fun! (I can say that now that it's over and I'm warm.) We actually got kind of lucky and the temperature that day was in the 40s and sunny! Last year, we heard that it was 30 degrees with snow flurries! Yikes!
Special Ginger Shout Out to Mike! Thanks for being the Ginger Kid race photographer! Loved the pics!
Polar Bear Plunge Recap in Pictures
Tips for the Polar Bear Plunge!
- Wear as little clothing as possible
- Keep Moving
- Bring a change of dry clothes and shoes
- Bring a towel
- Bring a friend or two