#146. What It’s Like to Do the Polar Bear Plunge.

Guess which one of us was regretting signing up for the Polar Bear Plunge?
Guess which one of us was regretting signing up for the Polar Bear Plunge?

Preference: marathon or polar bear plunge?

In January, I would’ve definitely said my preference = plunge. 10 seconds of pain versus four hours? Duh. However, after completing my first polar bear plunge, running a marathon doesn’t really sound so terrible.

I wasn’t excited for the polar plunge.

At all.

This is the coldest Minnesota winter of my life. I can barely walk from my front door to my car without wanting to throw in the towel. The idea of jumping into a freezing cold lake on a five degree day (oh, and a windchill of -19, no biggie) made me want to cry. However, my beyonce, Josh, signed both of us up for his company’s huge Polar Bear Plunge team. Between the two of us, we’d raised a few hundred bucks (all proceeds went to the Special Olympics).

My hands were tied. I was jumping.

I felt some comfort in the fact that our frozen jump into White Bear Lake was going to be quick. Organizers basically cut a big hole in the ice, then plungers (who are required to wear some sort of foot protection… I wore old sneakers) jump into the lake. Fully clothed, possibly in a costume, or if you’re nuts, a swim suit (not recommended). You exit the swimming hole via metal stairs in the water.

This sounded awful, but way better than what our plunge friends in Chicago had to do: run into Lake Michigan from the beach, then back out again. That sounds agonizing! Or at least it sounded agonizing until I heard that Chicago cancelled their event that day due to frigid temperatures.


The anticipation was far worse then the jump.

Between registration (which was at a hotel a few miles from the lake), taking a school bus to the plunge site, finding our group, changing into our jumping gear and waiting for our group to be called was 90 minutes, but felt like an eternity. This waiting around stuff (which was mostly outside!) gave me all sorts of time to imagine my heart stopping once my body hit the water. That’s something I’ve heard happens when people who shock their system, right?

Urban legend or not, it freaked me out.

Watch the action unfold in the below video.

From queueing up at the hole in the ice to running back into the sort of heated tent, where I ripped off my wet clothes faster than you can say hypothermia, the actual ordeal took less than a minute.

Did I mentioned I got dry humped by a very drunk woman in the changing area? Well, I did and so did eight or nine other ladies. Many people were drunk. Can you blame them?

We made it!
We made it!

I’ve had a few week’s space from the plunge and oddly enough, I would probably do the plunge again. I think my enthusiasm may have been inspired by these wings at Beartown. We mowed down a huge plate post-plunge.

Trust me, Josh and I earned every bite.

Apres plunge at Beartown in White Bear Lake... recommended.
Apres plunge at Beartown in White Bear Lake… recommended.

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PS Other physical challenges I’ve done since starting Hey Eleanor? I jumped out of an airplane, and once went SCUBA diving. Both were way more fun than I’d expected.

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