Get yourself ready for the Kirkland 2008 Polar Plunge on Jan 1st at 1pm at Marina Park. This chilly Lake Washington event is strangely addicting. I tried it for the first time last year (photo left, I look huge in white) and already find myself excitedly recruiting a group to join me this year. The funny thing is that people are surprisingly easy to convince. I can only explain it as some kind of adolescent peer pressure type of phenomenon where you can do something kinda CRAZY but it's not really BAD. So, why not?
Kirkland does it right- there's a big bonfire, lifeguards on duty (right), hot chocolate, and this year you'll earn a "2008 Polar Bear" patch. Wilde Rover even gives you free soup if you join them afterwards and Kirkland Food Bank donations are gladly accepted.
First-time plungers have been asking me how this event actually goes down. There are some tips on the park's website. I've only done it once, so I'm no pro, but here's my experience: Everyone hangs around huddling for warmth by the fire and laughing about how crazy they are and who double-dog dared them to be attempting this in the first place. When the countdown is approaching, you peel down to your bathing suit and wait for the 'go' signal. I saw some people jumping off the docks, but I joined the masses that ran in at the water's edge at Marina Park. My strategy was to run out fast so that by the time the message got from my body parts to my brain that I was f-f-f-freeeezing, I was already there. I basically submerged and b-lined back for the towel that my 4 year old was holding for me (Steve was busy holding his coffee). When my head went under the water, I heard a strange ringing in my ears and the cold kinda felt like a giant spark that just electrified through my body outward to my extremities. Probably some sort of internal emergency alarm system they forgot to mention in biology class.
So, c'mon--doesn't that sound like fun? You know you want to do it!! You'll get hooked. I've never heard of anyone saying they regretted it. Grab a few friends and put them to the test. See you there! ~j