Thursday, January 2, 2014

Taking the Plunge into 2014!

Happy New Year!  Yesterday was quite the day!  I went to bed at 2:15 am after all of our New Year's Eve fun at the Race into the New Year 5k and then Carter woke up at 6:30 am.  I was very tired and didn't want to get up at all!  Funny how just a few short months ago I was rejoicing in 4 hour stretches of sleep, now I am so groggy and disappointed!  I can totally wait for baby #2, that's for sure!  I'm getting used to this sleep thing and it's pretty nice!  Ty got up to go to the bathroom so I asked him to bring Carter into our bedroom when he came back.  Instead of getting up at 6:30 am, I laid in bed and quietly played with Carter so Ty could go back to sleep.  At 7:00 Carter started pulling my hair really hard so I decided we should get up.
Playing with my party hat from New Year's Eve.
We ate breakfast and played for a while before my dad came in and offered to watch Carter so I could go back to bed.  The hardest part of getting up with Carter is actually getting out of bed.  Once I'm up, I'd rather be up.  Even though I'd had 11 straight days home with Carter, I still didn't want to miss any precious time with him!  So we were all playing when my mom got up and came in to play too.  After about 3 hours Carter started getting really tired and went down for a nap.  We all quickly rushed back to bed to catch some extra sleep along with him.  Ty was still asleep so I hopped back into bed with him.  He didn't even bat an eye, he sleeps so hard!
Reading with Grampy.

Carter napped for an hour and when he woke up I talked Ty into getting up with him so I could nap a little bit longer.  I was confused about an hour later when Ty brought Carter into our room to wake me up.  He explained that we needed to leave for the Polar Bear Plunge in a little bit.  After laying for a while I finally got up to get ready. 

My dad and Ty were both registered to run the race which consisted of 2 miles and 3 swimming pools.  Yep, that's right, swimming pools.  Racers jump into 3 different pools of freezing water during a 2 mile run.  When they had signed up I was 50/50 on whether I wanted to run with them.  I hate, I mean absolutely hate, being cold.  I took ice baths every day in high school and college after cross country and track practice.  One time in high school a teammate added the ice to the water (in her defense, I did it for her every day).  After 2 minutes in the bath I was still miserable.  There was something about the 2 minute mark and ice baths, after that it becomes bearable.  Well, this time it didn't, so I asked her what the temp was.  She proudly replied, "34 degrees" at which point I told her she was nuts and jumped out of the ice bath.  I kid you not I put on layer after layer of clothing, drank hot chocolate, even ran around my block in 70 degree weather, and I was still freezing all night long.  My legs were splotchy and purple.  I equated that experience with all cold water experiences and decided not to sign up. 

Friday evening when Ty came home from work he informed me there were still openings for the race (the past 2 years it filled up).  At that point I started toying with the idea of running the race.  By New Year's Eve I'd decided if there were still spots open, I would sign up on race day.  When I crawled out of bed after my nap I wasn't sure there would still be spots left, but I decided to dress in race wear just in case.  I put on shorts, an underarmour top, thin quick wicking socks, and my old pair of running shoes.  I also made sure to pack a bag full of warm gear to change into after the race.  I figured the key to not freezing my tush all day long was changing into tons of layers after the race and drinking something warm.  Jeremy came over to spectate along with mom and we all headed out for the race. 

Upon arriving at the course, I hopped out of the car and ran up to the tent to see if I could still register.  I was a bit surprised that there were still openings left.  I filled out the form, paid my entry fee, and came to the realization that I was going to freeze my hiney along with dad and Ty!  When everyone else met me at the tent we realized there were 2 heats, a 1:00 heat and a 1:30 heat.  Ty and dad were in the 1:00 heat since they had pre-registered and I was in the 1:30 heat since I was a late registrant.  We talked with the race director and she said it was okay for Ty and dad to switch heats to run with me, but I couldn't switch heats to run with them since the first heat was full.  She said it was a crowd control issue which made sense because you can't have too many people jumping into the pool at a time!  Dad and Ty decided to switch heats to run with me, but I could tell dad was anxious to get the race over with!
Waiting for the race to start.

We waited around for a while before the 1st heat started and saw some interesting costumes.  The race also had a costume contest.  My personal favorite was a man wearing a polar bear costume and riding a unicycle!  As the 1st heat finishers began to trickle in, I wasn't too worried.  The first few finishers looked really good and didn't look too miserable.  I paid attention to the first female finisher in the heat.  She finished in 20:30.  Then as more runners began to cross the line, they were looking more cold and more miserable.  I saw some finishers with bright red skin.  I figured that's exactly what I would look like!

As we were standing at the starting line awaiting the gun I looked down at my legs and I already had goosebumps!  When we started the race the temperature was in the mid-40's, so we were really lucky, but it was still a bit cold to be jumping in water!  Dad and my plan was to take off quickly so we were overheated by the time we reached the pools.  The race went out in the opposite direction of the pools and then turned around and you ran past all the pools before turning and entering the first pool.  The entire path was soaked with water from the heat before us.  I knew we ran 1.25 miles before the first pool.  My legs were still pretty sore from running a 5k only 12 hours before, so I was starting to welcome the first pool, knowing I would get to slow down once I hit the pools.  Dad and I ran together and there were only 4 men in front of us.  We were told to wear as little clothing as possible into the pools, so I took off my underarmour and threw it to mom as we ran by (After going into the first pool, I think that was a mistake).  By the time we got to the first pool there was only one runner ahead of us. 
Ty looked like he was having fun!

That first pool was by far the worst.  As I said before, I have taken plenty of ice baths in my day so I was prepared for what it would feel like.  I knew that once really cold water reaches above your belly button your body goes into panic mode, your breathing gets shallow and you begin to hyperventilate, your body warns you that you will die if you don't remove yourself from the situation.  So I was expecting all of those things, but I had never fully submerged my body in freezing cold water, so I was still caught off guard.  I jumped down into the pool and as I resurfaced I was struggling to breath.  As I gasped for breath, I accidentally swallowed some water and began to choke.  It was at that time that I realized I somehow had to swim and make it to the other end of the pool.  I did a sorry looking doggy paddle all the way over to the stairs and was able to pull myself out of the pool.  It wasn't until after the race that I found out dad had dived into the water (crazy but genius) so he didn't resurface until he was about half-way across the pool!
Hopping down right at the edge of the pool.
Resurfacing after his dive.

After the first pool as I began to run again I was surprised that my legs weren't as numb as I thought they'd be.  Getting out of an ice bath (I always stayed in for 10 minutes) it's hard to move and as your feet touch the ground, there's a weird sensation that travels through your legs.  I was expecting that feeling, but hadn't thought about the fact that I was in the water for a much shorter amount of time.  I was also amazed at how quickly my body began to warm back up in between the pools.  During the run between the 1st and 2nd pool I was dreading the 2nd pool just a bit.  I couldn't decide what I should do.  Was jumping straight in like I had on the first pool the best way to do it?  I finally decided to just do it the same way again.  When I jumped into the 2nd pool my body didn't panic nearly as much as it had in the 1st pool and it was much easier to swim across.  As I pulled out of the 2nd pool I was closing in on the guy leading our heat.  He struggled after getting out of the pools each time and I would catch up to him a little bit more in between each one.
Looked like Ty got a running start.  I wish I'd thought of that, I just plopped in!

As we approached the 3rd pool volunteers were yelling out instructions.  I had caught up to the guy in front of me and we entered the pool at the same time.  The race medals were on the bottom of the pool, so you had to dive down to the bottom to retrieve your medal.  I had registered late enough that I was instructed not to take a medal.  If they had enough no-shows they would hand me a medal after I crossed the finish line.  So I by-passed the medals and swam my way across, making it through all of the soda and beer cans floating in the pool waiting to be grabbed and carried to the finish line.  After the race my mom told me Ty had stopped and sifted among the beer cans (in the freezing water) to choose the beer he wanted! 

Searching for the beer he wanted.
I came out of the pool in front, but wasn't sure where to go.  As I stopped to ask a volunteer, the man I had just passed sprinted around me.  I took off chasing after him, but he already had a decent lead since I had to pick up speed after coming to a complete stop.  I caught up right behind him as we neared the finish line, but just couldn't over take him.  It was the strangest feeling sprinting while my legs were numb!  I guess enough runners chickened out and didn't show up for the race because I was handed a medal as I crossed the finish line in just over 19 minutes.  I watched dad and Ty finish and then hurried to the car to change.  I still felt warm somehow, but then began shivering as I changed my clothes in the car.  I put on an underarmour top, a fleece long sleeve, a sweatshirt, 2 pairs of sweat pants, a regular pair of socks, a knee-high pair of socks, dry shoes, gloves, a head band, and a stocking cap.

Carter helping to warm his mommy!
Between Carter, mom, and Jeremy, we had the best spectators!
We met back up with Ty in the tent and I immediately got a cup of hot chocolate.  After about 5 cups of hot chocolate and some Carter snuggles I was finally warm again!  Ty claimed he never got too cold after the race, but I think that was due to the shot of Peppermint Schnapps and multiple beers he drank before the race.  Overall we had a blast and I would definitely run the race again!  Now I'm tempted to do it again when it's colder (in the 20's or 30's) to see what a difference that would make.

The race finishers.  The medals were huge, Ty said they were 6.5 inches!
Racers and spectators together!
Ty has been wanting to do this race for years and I never understood why and always thought he was a bit nuts, even yesterday as I signed myself up, but it was a blast!  I introduced Ty to running and he introduced me to races I would never have chosen to run, like the Warrior Dash, the Color Run, and the Tough Mudder (which we will run together in May).  We work so well together, stretch each other, and make each other better!  I love that!  We may have welcomed 2014 in a bit of a crazy way, but that's totally our style!  I'm so excited for a crazy, fun, and full of love 2014!


  1. I love your story. It's cute to read after experiencing it from the spectator side.

  2. My Ty is crazy! Searching, searching for that brand of beer he wants!

    1. I couldn't imagine, but it sure didn't surprise me! As I swam through I just by-passed all of it to get out of the water as fast as possible! He is somethin special.