The Polar Plunge is a very cool experience, no pun intended.
I’ve done this Special Olympics fundraiser for 16 or 17 years now. My family and I first got involved when my special-needs son, Tomas, was 8 years old. He’s 32 now. He loves the water; it doesn’t matter the temperature, he just wants to get in. When we heard about the Polar Plunge, it sounded almost perfect for us.
Even though I am a seasoned participant, my feelings are all over the place beforehand. I still get a bit anxious, excited, and worried about our rookies. I shiver uncontrollably, partly from nerves and partly from waiting outside while wearing almost nothing. There’s not a lot you can do to prepare yourself. A cold shower might be bracing, but it’s not going to fully submerge every inch of your body in icy water.
When you jump in, you have about a second of shock as your body reacts to the frigid water. Then the adrenaline kicks in, and for the next minute or so, you barely register the cold.
A lot of people will wear costumes to do the Plunge, but I found the fewer clothes, the better. You have all that cold, wet fabric sticking to your skin, not wanting to come off. Better to wear a bikini.
The Special Olympics Indiana Polar Plunge takes place across the state on various dates through March 4. There is an $85 fundraising minimum to make the leap.
Another pro tip: Have everything laid out beforehand, so you can easily strip off your wet clothes as quickly as possible, towel off, and put on lots of warm clothes. You actually warm up pretty quick after that.
The best thing about the Polar Plunge, besides helping a good cause, is the endorphin rush that stays with you the rest of the day. It’s the best legal high you can get, almost like walking on a cloud.