Friday, January 1, 2010

Ice Ice Baby

[That's my knee, right after the Plunge.]

As is becoming tradition, this morning I joined a couple friends for the annual New Year's Day Polar Plunge in Lake Michigan. And I have the battle scars to prove it.

When we arrived at noon, I was feeling really nervous, like suddenly I no longer wanted to do it. See, the Plunge is a crazy thing. There's really nothing else in my life I've ever done is messed up as this is. There's no other situation in which I completely force my body to do something it does not want to do. It was 17 degrees, and the water temp was 35. There were 4-foot waves with large chunks of ice floating through it. It was pretty much hell on Earth.

I've figured out that the Plunge is kinda like dying: you may enter the water surrounded by friends, but in the end, it is you and you alone. Mark, Katie and I waded into the water, dodging ice flows and waves, and went down on the count of three. But in the moment, when you say "three" there's nobody dropping you to your knees. It's only you and the big, cold abyss. Death is like that, I suppose.

Anyway, after climbing out of the water onto and over the ice to get back to our clothes and towels, we were all scraped up, bloody and bruised. As my friend Colleen, who was there to take pictures of the whole incident, commented afterwards, "There's a lot of blood on this beach."

Did I mention that it was 17 degrees and the water temp was 35? At this point, as I sit here much warmer but physically exhausted, it was totally worth it. But if the conditions next year are like they were today, I will definitely have to think twice.

But regardless, you never feel more alive then you do once you submerge yourself in near-frozen water, I think. It is perhaps the best possible way to start the New Year.

Which, btw, Happy 2010 bitches!

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