Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cold Water Kills - But First It Makes You Into A Total Silly Geek!

Or at least it made ME into one. I mean seriously, everybody else looks pretty good, but what a doofus I was!

But there's nothing wrong with being a little goofy the first time you try something, and dang it was fun!

The lady beside me is actually a co-worker - the Bears meet at the NY Aquarium's Education Hall and she came running up and said "I work with you but you don't recognize me because we're not at work!", which cracked me up because IT'S SO TRUE - I'm sometimes shocked at how hard I have to work to place someone when I meet them outside of places where I expect to meet them. She turns out to be a veteran Polar Bear, and one of the brave people who volunteer at the famous annual New Year's Day plunge at Coney Island - that's how this troupe gives back, they organize that whole thing.

Boy, some of the Polar Bear women had cute suits. If I'd planned this better I might have gotten a replacement for this Tyr I've had forever, but as I rhymed yesterday, this was a swim on a whim.

The guy who tell me to scream was one of a number of people who were giving me suggestions - I got there a full hour early and so obviously full of nerves and everyone I talked to was really nice about hints on how to do this and have fun. This guy said "If you want to scream, just scream!". There was absolutely no competitiveness - I was told go in as much or as little as I wanted to, just being there and enjoying it was the main thing. Great stuff.

Here was my writeup on YouTube:
Pardon the HEINOUS camera work, this was my first cold-water swim without a drysuit EVER - with all the whooping and hollering, I figured I would hit "record" and see what I got, but my attention was far from entirely on the camera! 

This was a fun personal experiment, I've participated in so many cold-water safety talks but never really tried actually dunking myself in water under fifty. It was actually a lot of fun, but the 10 part of the 1-10-1 rule (1 minute to get your breathing under control, 10 minutes of meaningful activity, 1 hour until you are probably not going to make it) definitely held true for me. The shaking was more the inherited shake that I have that gets exacerbated by stress or excitement (oddly enough, the cold shake actually set in the worst later on, after I was out of the water), and my hands didn't stop working because they just weren't really in the water much, but just after the 2nd traditional circle-up, which happens at 10 minutes, I suddenly began to feel lightheaded, which my friend Capri (aka the Polar Bear Princess, she's one of the most dedicated of the Bears) said is the sign that you need to get out immediately. Here, that just meant walking out of the water and bundling up, no problem - if I'd been away from shore trying to get back into my boat, I suspect that the point at which the spins set in would be the moment it would start to be very tricky to coordinate my efforts. 

Here with the Bears, though, it was all good fun! Glad they let me come play, what a great group.


The O'Sheas said...

Awesome. But you're not a rock star. I don't care what that lady said. ;)

It was cold at Kewalo pt yesterday. And I didn't have my vest. Brrr.

aloha, sistah!

bonnie said...

I'm a goofy giddy geek!

my2fish said...

Looks like fun! What was the water temperature?

bonnie said...

The Bears were saying it was around 45. They were even saying that that's cold for this time of year, and they said the weird thing was it had dropped a couple of degrees from the prior weekend, I guess from that cold snap we had.

Funny thing is that my cousin Chris, who lives in Coldwater, Michigan, beat me to the punch - there's something called the Cold Water Challenge they're doing up there, the way it works is you get challenged to go jump in a pond or a lake within 24 hours. If you default on the challenge, you're supposed to pay some money to a charity. If you do it, you get to challenge 3 friends. All in good fun & for good causes although I've seen at least one person get a little sniffy when challenged (but she was simply not a swimmer, said she wouldn't go in some slimy lake if it was August).

So I go onto Facebook on Sunday morning thinking I'm going to do something so weird, and the first thing I see is a video of my cousin running into a beautiful lake in Michigan and I'm thinking, holy cow, that was probably ice not too long ago!

bonnie said...

And then his wife SueAnn actually jumped off of a dock the same day I swam - I much preferred the walking in under control entry!

bonnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
my2fish said...

That Coldwater Challenge sounds pretty wild. Back in my teenage years, we would close down Camp Arcadia, right on Lake Michigan, every year in early October. I remember doing a "polar bear" swim in the early morning several times. I'm sure water temps would have been low 50's, or even down into the 40's. Fond memories!