Sunday, December 19, 2010

Special Olympics Polar Plunge

Yesterday was the 2nd annual "Freezin for a Reason" polar plunge for Alaska's Special Olympics. I personally raised $500 for the organization and in total $275K was raised so I think it was a huge success. Weeks prior I was so excited to do the plunge. As the date came closer, I became more nervous. Moments before we jumped, I was actually FEARFUL. I didn't know what to expect. Our jump time was at 10 am. We got to UAA an hour before, took a shuttle to Goose Lake, checked in (signed our life away w/ our signatures), scoped things out, and tried to stay calm. On the outside I may have appeared calm, but I was anything but calm. It was -5 outside. Wearing snowpants, jacket, gloves, boots, and hat didn't even keep me warm and I wondered how I would survive jumping in freezing water; we heard the water was 14 degrees. It was the first time in my life when I questioned my intelligence and logic. Crews were there hours before breaking the ice away to get to the lake's water. There was a hospitality tent with hot chocolate, beverages, soup, and other food. Another tent housed 3 hot tubs and a men and women's locker room to change afterwards. We hung out at the fire pit for about 15 minutes before we had to change into our jumping clothes. My friend, Heather came to document the whole thing. The best thing we did was leaving our kids home. I thought about taking them, but they would have been freezing and whining the whole time. As you can tell we wore shorts and a shirt. I named our team Lakers so I wore a lakers shirt. Other people went all out dressing up. A man jumped in decked out in a suit, a woman wore a thrift store wedding dress, someone named Toucan Sam dressed up as a Toucan, we saw a group of guys dressed in bikinis, one of the guys was wearing a thong/cup bikini bottom (yucky!.) Over 700 participants jumped. The atmosphere was very fun, festive, and exciting. Jeff and I were one of the first to jump. I think that was the best time to go. It wasn't so crowded as midday and we had fresh hot tub water. We changed into our shorts and shirt and waited outside in line to jump. This was freakin' cold. I was shivering like you wouldn't believe. This is when I actually considered walking away. I became fearful. I guess I was scared how my body would respond to the shock of it all. I was scared that the emergency crew would actually have to help me out and I didn't want to be the "special olympic polar plunge SPECTACLE". I dreaded thinking about being the one and only person who needed rescuing. Leave it to me to be the one who is scared I might and could be the center of attention. I despise having all eyes on me, it's uncomfortable. So there we were, standing on some mats (we had to wear shoes), the DJ was announcing our names and how much we raised. I elected to jump by the rescue diver guy that was in the water. I looked at the water we had to jump in. We had to jump in the water and then walk to the other side where the ladders were to climb out. It was about 8 feet away but I remember it seemed much further. They counted down 3-2-1 JUMP, a semi truck honked his horn, and we jumped in. I just stepped off. Jeff on the other hand, sprang up with enthusiasm (and adrenaline too I'm sure) and jumped into the water getting totally submerged, in true polar bear fashion. I wasn't thinking about anything except getting into the hot tub and warming up. When I jumped in, my feet hit, and I stood up. I didn't think to bend my knees more to get all the way under. I only got wet to my shoulders and walked as quickly to the ladder as possible to get out. They handed us a towel and Jeff and I ran into the hot tub. I definitely worked up the whole thing in my head and got overly anxious for nothing. It wasn't so bad after all. Jumping in the water was the easiest part. Waiting in -5 degrees in shorts and getting out of the water in the freezing air was the coldest part. This would be fun to do every December. I'm thinking my goal next year would be getting submerged in the water and maybe even stay in a few seconds. haha. Here are some pictures and I'm working on getting the video up too so come back for video footage.



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

The only thing missing from the pictures was Lauren's piercing scream!

Kirsten said...

Lauren you are awesome! I don't think I'll be doing that anytime soon. You are one brave woman!

Alice said...

WILD!!!!! Looks like you're making the most of Alaska!

Carrie said...

Way to go you guys are amazing!

Charlotta-love said...

Wow. That is brave. Way to go Lauren and Jeff!

Bowen Family said...

I think I know who anonymous is. You guys were inspiring. I can't believe how amazing you were. What a great thing to say you did. Congratulations on all the money raised!

Luisa said...

You guys are CRAZY. You literally jumped into ice water. Ever since my traumatizing polar bear dip challenge of '99, I let out piercing screams getting in BV Lake in the summer...when the water is probably about, oh, 70 degrees. I don't know how you did this. But I am just glad you survived and good job raising money too.

Monster Mary said...

Sounds chilly but fun. I think MIke would have fun with this. He's always trying to play Man vs. Wild.

Josh, Kristin, Isabella and Carson said...

it gs
ve me a chill just watching. wish i could've been there to see it. u r awesome....braver than me!!!!