Let me start out by saying I do NOT like cold water. I barely go swimming in the summer if the pool water feels too chilly. So how did I end up in freezing cold water on an 18 degree day? Because I’m crazy enough to have it on my bucket list and the opportunity arose.
I was searching our local events site to find something fun to do together over the weekend. That’s when I found out about the sweetheart plunge. The sweetheart plunge has been going on for 17 years the weekend before Valentine’s Day.It’s a fundraiser for North Kent Community Services and is one of the least expensive polar plunges I’ve heard of. Entry fee $5. I know it’s crazy to pay someone to jump in freezing cold water but it was for charity ……and I get to cross of another adventure off on my bucket list. My husband was a definite yes when I told him about it. He had participated in one in Indiana before but it was unseasonably warm that day so he was a little disappointed with his first experience. Having them cut a hole in the ice gives you more street cred.
I found out that people dress up in crazy costumes and a dj plays music before they go in. I immediately began searching the internet for an easy couples costume. That’s when I found the suggestion of double rainbow. On the original youtube video you hear a guy transition from passionate excitement to sobbing at the site of a double rainbow. Of course the autotune the news guys took it and made a song out of it. If you haven’t seen the youtube autotune video here it is.
In my mind a double rainbow costume would be easy, original and funny to anyone who had seen the video on youtube. We had even thought of adding motions to the song. I invited another couple to join us and only half wanted to participate. So we transitioned from the couple category to the group division as “Double Rainbow…. Starting to Look Like a Triple Rainbow.” My friend had fun rainbow colored clothes to wear also so we just had my husband wear black to be the storm cloud. It was a stretch but are you really worried about dignity when you are plunging into cold water in front of a group of strangers.
I was super nervous the day of. I ran that morning with a running group and could not feel my fingers for the first mile of the run. At the completion you could see runners with frost all over their hair and facial features. It was cold!!! 18 degrees and the weatherman said it was closer to 0 degrees with the wind chill, but cold is cold right?
We registered and found out that they we would have had to have our song given the night before. Too bad there wasn’t any info on the site stating that. The dj said we could just hook our phone up to the system but another coordinator refused to allow it and said we had to chose a song on the list. Ironically, our song was more family friendly than half the songs on the list.
I brought face paint to paint our rainbows when we got there. I also painted our kids faces too. University of Michigan M’s were requested of course. I think a good majority of the crowd thought we had a different statement by our rainbow theme that day. Maybe that’s why our pictures didn’t show up with the rest online.
The worst part was watching everyone while waiting to go in. The group division was last and it was sooooo cold!!. We had prepped our kids and my friend’s husband with video cameras and our cell phones to take pictures. The youtube video below explains what happens when you put a 3rd grader in charge on filming. I was getting to the point where I just wanted to get it over with. The announcer asked each group why they were taking the plunge.
When it was finally our turn we explained our double rainbow theme from youtube and that they didn’t play our song. The announcer asked the crowd if they had ever seen double rainbow on youtube and half of the crowd raised their hands ,so at least we didn’t sound as crazy.
We decided that we would go all the way under the water. I figured if I was only doing this once I should do it all the way. We danced around a bit, my hubby and I kissed before walking the final steps into the icy cold water. I mean there were rescue divers in insulated suits as a precaution in case anything went terribly wrong. That was my worst fear. Jumping in the water and having my body go into shock and then the big spectacle of being rescued. I decided that the faster that I went under, the faster it would be over.
I went under almost immediately.
I came up for air and tried to find my hat. It was so COLD!!!!! I went out as fast as I went in and enjoyed the body temperature neutralizing of the hot tub located on site. The experience was so fast that it was almost a blur because you are so focused on getting in and out as fast as possible.
My friend lost her shoe in the water and was not going to search for it. That’s when the divers came to the rescue. We only got to enjoy the hot tub for a few minutes before they cleared us out for the next group. To my shock I didn’t even use my towel to dry off. The hot tub did such a great job of shocking our system that we seemed warmer than the spectators as we walked a block to the public restrooms to change.
The experience was surprisingly fun despite the cold. We felt great after changing our clothes and were warmer than the remaining family members who were spectating. I will definitely put more time and effort into the costume and dance if I do it again. This is something that would be so fun to do with a big group of friends. I never dreamed I would be open to trying the plunge another time. I think my stipulation would be a hot tub on site to go in, otherwise I think you would be chilled to the bone all day.
If taking a polar plunge is on your bucket list check out these tips. Click here if you want to try the Sweetheart Plunge next year. Click here to find a polar plunge near you. Special Olympics also host polar plunges that you can search for by state.