Sears Great Canadian Chill

***post written for both this blog and Racing To 40

Good morning….I hope, as it’s back to work again after a second straight long weekend. I wish I had 2-3 day weekends all the time 🙂 Yesterday I just rested up as I have a cold and my heel was just a bit off. I think I’ll be able to run Tuesday as long as my cold isn’t any worse. OK enough with the boring stuff, eh?!

Last Thursday I was on twitter when I found out about the Sears Great Canadian Chill. Most people would probably know it better as a “polar bear plunge/dip”. I hummed and hawed about trying it for 2 days straight. I tried to get someone to join me but alas everyone was chicken 🙂 So it’s 11:30am on New Years Day and I’m thinking it’s supposed to be pretty nice out. I check my iPhone and it says 5C/41F. That in the end was the difference maker. I figured if I’m going to ever try this craziness I’d better do it while the weather was abnormally warm for the middle of winter!

As I was scrambling to grab everything I’d need my brother phoned to see when I was going to our parents for dinner. I told him after I was finished in the city. When I told him what I was doing he decided to come watch. I was glad too as then I’d have a witness in case no one believed I went through with it 🙂 I got there with plenty of time to spare and registered. Even though it was free to try I donated $20 as the money being raised was going to “directed by Sears Charitable Foundation to the 16 Canadian pediatric oncology centers to help children and their families cope with this devastating disease and find a cure.” If I had known about this event sooner I would have tried to raise some money but maybe next year?!

After I was registered and had brought my stuff to the heated tent to change into afterwards it was time to play the waiting game. They had a costume contest and money-raising contest which they announced before we jumped along with the obligatory speeches from all involved. They asked everyone how far they were going to go in the water and there were surprisingly few, less than a 3rd of the crowd, who said they were going fully under. I decided before I got there I wanted to try to stay in for 5 minutes but found out they wouldn’t let us even though the website says you can. So I went with plan B which was to grab a souvenir from the river bottom…a “sand grabber” I was informed.

Probably the coldest I was the whole time I was there was when I stripped to my swimsuit and had to stand in a light rain for 5-10 minutes. I don’t know if it was the nice temp. outside, the extra fat I’ve put on the last 3 months or the fact I had my plan to grab sand from the bottom but I don’t remember being that cold in the water for more than a second or two. Don’t get me wrong it WAS cold but not as bad as I had imagined. I was successful in grabbing two fistfuls of sand in chest deep water but lost one when I realized I needed one hand to pull myself out.

After I got out I talked with my brother, his fiancee and their daughter for a few minutes while grabbing my clothes and eyeglasses off him. Then they were off to my parents for New Years dinner. I was going too but needed to warm up a bit and get into dry clothes so no point in them waiting. As I was drinking hot chocolate and eating a muffin while standing directly in front of a heater I’m suddenly like “F _ _ _!” I realized I forgot to get my keys before my brother left and of course he doesn’t have a cell phone! After calling my other brother to confirm the cell phone fact he said he’d lend me a vehicle so I calmed down and went and got dressed.

As I was walking to my van I was hoping my brother had found the keys and had brought them back and was waiting for me. Wouldn’t you know it as I could first see my van I saw him getting out of his car right behind it. Turns out he had just got there. He said he only found them because the Tim Horton’s he was at didn’t take gift cards. When he reached in his other pocket for cash is when he realized he had my keys! So thankfully my day wasn’t any longer than it had to be.

So that’s it. That’s my New Years Day adventure. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of trying the polar bear plunge when I’ve seen it on TV newscasts in the past but you know what? I think I’m going to have to do it again next year. I need to see how much worse/better it is when it’s freezing out. I was told afterwards Saturday that it’s better when it’s colder….we’ll see…maybe 🙂 To end here’s a few pics from the day.

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4 Responses to Sears Great Canadian Chill

  1. You are one brave guy!!!! Holy hell!!

  2. biz319 says:

    You are crazy John! I hate being cold, so not chance in hell I’d ever do that – love that you are so daring! 😀

  3. Nicole, RD says:

    Some day I want to do this!!

    How is the weight loss going? I was looking for an update on the weight-in page, but I didn’t see one. You are inspiring! I am back on the weight-loss bandwagon and I had a smoothie this morning…thought of you!!! LOL!

  4. Sara says:

    Will we see you at this year’s CHILL? Registration is now open at 1.855.93.CHILL or http://www.TheChill.ca. See you on January 1st!

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