So today I took a plunge into some Icy cold water at Chapman State Park, near Warren PA. I have to say, I wasn't very scared about much, except the wearing a bikini to do it. Even though I've lost a bit of weight in the past couple of years, I never considered myself a bikini type.
So we got up there too early, as usual, but we walked around, met a couple of my friends and figured out where everything would be happening. I got dressed (or undressed), and chatted until it was time. My biggest problem, was that my feet were really really cold, standing around waiting. It was about 49 degrees outside, but the ground was still cold and there was a stiff breeze. I was wearing my vibram five fingers with no socks, and my toes were so cold. I tried to put it out of my mind as we got ready.
We stripped off our cover-ups, went to the warming hut, then waited for them to call us down. We were the first group to go, so we ran down to the water's edge(they had removed the ice from the spot we would run into), and waited as the spectators counted down. We ran in. It was cold. I mean, really cold.
We ran in, and as I ran in further, my body realized that this was not a good thing to be doing, and I slowed way down. Now, I have been in cold water before, but not 36 degree water. I got up to my chest, and realized if I didn't turn around, I might not make it out by my own power. I turned around, and all my body parts were sluggish. It was much harder getting out than in, and I stumbled a few times, and finally was out and made it back to my towel. My body warmed up immediately, but my feet felt like they were concrete bricks. I shared a changing room with a friend after, and I had to have help untying my bikini, because my fingers were sluggish too.
I have to say, it was a fun experience, and also eye-opening. I know the experts warn you about frozen water, but it's quite amazing how quickly your body will shut down when you get into that cold water. My feet finally warmed up after a couple hours, and there's no permanent damage to my body... though my brain... well that might be another question.
I think I'll be doing this next year, but I don't think I'll run in quite so far.