Salted with Sharks

Frigid Dare: We Polar Plunged Lake Michigan

In Open Season on February 8, 2011 at 12:32 am

In January, a video depicting two area women was leaked to Facebook. The video, which was recorded on New Year’s Day, shows the women stripping down to their sportswear and taking the wet route off Frankfort beach. Herewith, an Alert exclusive interview.

Julia Dodd: It was New Year’s Day, 2011. I would have to guess there was a negative 10 degree windchill. The wind was horizontal and hit our faces like a knife slashing the skin. There were also snow flurries and the beach sand was whipping us.
Liz Padalino: A pair of surfers on the scene had long, thick icicles surrounding their faces on their hair that was exposed.

|||   I am better than OK now, but I have moved to Malibu, CA. |||

JD: What possessed us? We wanted a nice cleansing experience for the New Year. I had a wicked roller coaster of a year in 2010 and I thought the cold water would refresh me, so that I would be raring to go in 2011.
LP: One, I have been trying hard to acclimate my body to the cold all winter so that I can be comfortable at low indoor temperatures. And I thought a polar plunge would help (it has). Two, it was 50 degrees on New Year’s Eve, when I initially wanted to plunge, so I thought I could plunge with relative ease for the time of year, and still get all of the respect that comes with a midwinter swim. Three, Julia and I had told everyone we knew or ran into that we were going to do the plunge, so we had to stick to our word.

JD: I wore my Nike issued long spandex given to me while I was on the Michigan crew team (where I met Liz). I thought it would be best, because it wouldn’t be heavy when wet and wouldn’t retain water when I got out. If I had to do it, again, I would not have worn socks. Mentally, I didn’t think. This was my fourth polar plunge, so I knew that I could do it and there was no turning back once we reached the beach.
LP: Julia and I went to the beach the night before to “scope it out,” and the night was warm and foggy, and the water was very calm. So it seemed like it would be a very simple, refreshing event. The only gear preparation I made was to wear a wool shirt and wool socks on the way to the beach.

JD: Recovery was fairly fast. I went into the lake a bit too far and when I began to walk out I felt a tad dizzy and disoriented. I made it to shore and we rushed back to Joe [Cissell]’s house. We then took showers starting with lukewarm water and slowly heating it, so as not to shock our bodies. Joe made us hot coffee and we went back to Liz’s to eat chili and watch the movie Big Foot: A Legendary Encounter starring Zachery Ty Bryan. I am better than OK now, but I have since moved to Malibu, CA.
LP: The plunge was painful but restorative. It took away both my breath and my hangover. For some reason, I was compelled to take baby steps for the rest of the day. I moved slowly and watched feel-good movies such as Bigfoot and *Batteries Not Included. Basically, anything rated PG.

JD: I will most definitely do it again. A good story is worth repeating.
LP: I will not do a polar plunge under such harsh conditions again. If there is a midwinter thaw, I may consider it. But never again in such wind and cold.

JD: While in the cold, I saw myself renewed. No matter what happens to you in life, you can always find your balance in the cold winter waters of Lake Michigan.
LP: It is much better to swim in the summer.    Ψ

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