Our Northwest

Thrills and chills: Tips for your first Polar Plunge

Tuesday, February 23, 2016by  Libby Hodgin

 Before and after photos at the Bend Polar Plunge.

For all the thrill-seekers out there who don’t mind a bit of a chill, plunging into frigid waters to support Special Olympics Oregon may be the thing for you! Our events team had the pleasure of attending the Bend Polar Plunge last weekend, and I was the only team member daring enough (or crazy enough…hard to tell here) to volunteer to take part in the Plunge.

That meant diving into the 35-degree (!) water of the Deschutes River. I’ll admit, as a first-time “plunger,” I felt a little over my head. If you’re considering taking the plunge for the first time, here are some tips:

  • Prepare: Take cold showers in the days leading up to the event to acclimate your body and lessen the shock the day of the plunge. (I didn’t do this – I chose to avoid the cold at all costs, knowing it would come in full force soon enough, but I’d suggest others not take my approach.)
  • Get set: Wear water shoes. (Cold sand can be the worst part of the plunging experience.) Also, wear clothes that can easily be taken off after the plunge. Being a proud Northwesterner, I pulled out my sandals and threw on a pair of socks to protect my tootsies. (All those Sandals and Socks Guys are right, this really is an ingenious hybrid.)
  • Take the plunge: Get in quick! I ran, I dove, I got very cold. If you’re going to run, pick up your feet, or get ready to face-plant. Also, don’t feel the need to submerge. Going all the way under often depends on just how cold the water is (safety always comes first).
  • Get out: Pick those legs up, hustle out of the water, and wrap yourself up in a warm towel. Leave your items on the plunger platform or have a buddy wait for you on shore.
  • Get warm: Visit a heated changing tent after the race to put on dry clothes that will keep you warm from head (hats are great) to toe (thick socks – I chose to double-layer). I suggest bringing a second towel (I prefer quick-dry towels to soak up all the water) for drying off since the one you used getting out of the water may be soaked.

My most important tip: Have fun! You’re out supporting a great cause with other fun-loving folks.

The WALLY team will be chillin’ in Portland for the Polar Plunge this Saturday, Feb. 27. If you’re planning to Plunge, be sure to stop by our booth so we can snap your souvenir photo! 

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