Invigorating Way to Begin 2011!
New Year’s Day, 2011, I planned to get to the Flora-Bama by 11 am to be sure to get a parking space. Ha! Barely got one. The place was packed. Dressed in my swimsuit, robe and beach hat, I was ready to take the plunge in the annual Flora-Bama Polar Bear Dip.
This was to be my second polar bear dip, the first taking place in Waterville, Ohio. And, yes, there was ice floating in the Maumee River. But the festivities here were phenomenal! You had pirates, Fred Flintstone, bikini-clad girls, Parrot Heads, and so many others. There were at least three Vikings. One was Whit Johnson, an octogenarian who looked in better shape than me. This was his 17th polar bear dip. He was ready!
The Parrot Heads were especially out in force and in colorful costumes. The Alabama Parrot Heads and the Florida Parrot Heads were again seeing which club could outdo the other. I had friends in the Alabama Parrot Heads, so I became a member of their group. And we came in first!
The Flora-Bama was a beehive of activity. But why a polar bear dip? I had the chance to speak with Pat, the president of Flora-Bama. He is a very positive man, a fan of Steven Covey, and for good reason - it works. He started
the Polar Bear Dip to celebrate a new beginning. He mentioned that "it is an invigorating way to bring in the new year. We ought to be grateful for another year. No matter what happened last year, that’s behind us. We can all start
fresh in this new year. "
The time came and we all moved outside. There were at least 200 dippers and many more onlookers. Whimps! We were shouting, taking pictures and everyone was excited. The word was given and we took the plunge. For me, one needs to dive into the wave, get completely soaked. So, I did. Cold! Really cold – at first. Then it became quite fun. I was fortunate enough to catch a wave and body surf back. Yes! This is an excellent way to start the new year!
We all went back in for the feast the Flora-Bama provides free for all polar bears. I didn’t have a chance to enjoy it though. My journey was just beginning. At 1 pm I was to start on my journey of the first ever Florida Perimeter Beach Run.
I love jogging, the beach, etc., so why not jog all the perimeter beaches of Florida? I had a photo taken and a few minutes after 1 and took off down the beach on the first, of many, jogs. The weather held and I reached Beach Access One, 5 ½ miles away. You can find out more at FloridaPerimeterBeachRun.com.