1/30/2006    Jeff Joins The Polar Bear Club

So I wake up at 4:00 am with great anticipation to take on this task that everyone has so enthusiastically been bragging about. As I pull out of my house and drive down to Walsh's Boat Landing (currently being renamed as the Insane Asylum) I notice that holy crap it's kind of dark out there. I've never swam in the pitch dark before. So as I take a deep breath and calm my nerves I sit and wait for my other very close and dear mental patients to arrive. Once they arrive there is a flurry of people making sure they have lights. I think lights holy crap it really is dark out there isn't it? And then Fred and I chuckle and go on about what we would tell the police if one of us actually didn't make it back. Can you imagine how stupid we would look? So I put on my wet suit and I notice I'm the only one wearing one and feel like a real loser among this crowd. Oh well I say I'm not a crazy as the rest of them I guess?? The only issue is my wetsuit zipper broke and we couldn't fix it in the dark and shivering from the 50 degree air temperature. So I teetered on should I go with or without and after a very heated mental argument inside my head I decide that with it is much smarter than the without. So after Lynne gets her photographic creativity out of her system we all head down to the water and jump in. We are off for my maiden voyage now this group doesn't mess around as I figured I'd get a minute or so to catch my breath from how cold it was at the very least. But no way they were off and I was in tow across the lake to the first bright light. Again it was very dark and that's all you had to gauge where you are going. Oh my god that water was cold even with a broken wetsuit. It took my breath away and I began to have that mental argument inside my head again on how stupid I was and then I thought about something my mom said when I was in trouble growing up and blamed it on my friend. She said to me in a very stern motherly voice "If little Jimmie (or in this case Lynne and Fred) jumps off a bridge would you jump off as well" Apparently in 40 some years nothing has changed cause I just followed in tow until we reached the first stopping point. At this point it's not really that bad (I think it's cause everything had gone numb) and actually I'm starting to think to myself I now see why Lynne, Fred, and the others like doing this so much. So we finish the first approximately 1 mile loop and I notice several people are heading in. (I think to myself Wimps) I came out here to swim not play in the bathtub. (haha) So I catch Fred and Gracie heading out for another loop and I think those are my kind of peeps. So we do another across and back. Then the task of getting out was quite daunting. It's very difficult to remove a wetsuit when you can't feel your fingers and it's even harder to walk when your feet are numb. It's also very interesting how quickly your body will shift all the heat from your core to your extremities and it's even more interesting how long it takes your body to heat back up even sitting in a car with the heater blasting full blast and the seat heaters on hot. ;-)

Needless to say this was a very interesting adventure, and for those of you that are wondering would I do it again. OF COURSE!! DUHHH!!