New Year’s Day has arrived. A time to create resolutions, reflect on the past year, look ahead and feel optimistic about the upcoming year. The morning of New Year’s Day is a time when many people sleep in late and watching the rose parade. New Year’s Day is also a day to relax, be lazy and watch the College Football Bowl games. For a couple hundred brave souls it is a time to wake up early and rinse off last year with a Polar Bear Plunge into Lake Michigan.
This is something that I have also talked about doing and wanted to do but never did, until this year. For me, I am looking at 2015 as a new challenge a fresh start, building confidence and conquering fears. The weather has been unseasonally warm this past December and as of last year, it was 50 degrees. I was thinking, a Polar Bear Plunge would not be that bad and maybe refreshing. I should try something new and challenge myself. Well, that thought has stayed with me for the past 1-2 weeks. I was even talking about it with friends and family on New Year’s Eve and I posted it about thinking about doing it on Facebook earlier in the week. I wasn’t even sure about doing it when I went to bed on New Year’s Eve. I woke up on New Year’s Day and I still was undecided. Something told me to get ready and to drive to Waukegan Municipal Beach for the 2015 Waukegan Polar Bear Plunge.
I arrived at the Beach, parked and walked with a crowd of people to the registration tent. I registered and then found our Board of Director doing the MC’ing for the event on stage, so I went and talked with him. I decided to watch to first wave of plungers go, as I was still undecided. After watching, I said, I am standing here in the cold, this cannot be that bad. You run in and run out. Plus, I was a high school swimmer and started swimming competitively when I was 8 years old, I can do this. I went and go changed, talked to a couple people who just came back from the water and another guy who was just going in. Everyone was extremely nice, helpful by providing tips and encouraging. So, I put on the GoPro camera and off I went to conquer a fear. A couple things I learned, you can either run straight out and high five the safety guy and run back or just jump in. I decided to do the run. Be sure to wear shoes. The water is only waist deep and your feet are the worst. You try to run back faster than running in. The changing tents are heated to like 90 degrees. Fist thing after completion is to take your wet socks and shoes off and put dry on immediately that will help you warm up faster. All in all, I had a good time and it is something that I will do again. It was very refreshing.
Happy New Year!