321 GO!

Brian Siemann: A Three Time Paralympian and Six Time runDisney Dopey Winner

September 13, 2023 Carissa Galloway and John Pelkey Season 1 Episode 11
Brian Siemann: A Three Time Paralympian and Six Time runDisney Dopey Winner
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321 GO!
Brian Siemann: A Three Time Paralympian and Six Time runDisney Dopey Winner
Sep 13, 2023 Season 1 Episode 11
Carissa Galloway and John Pelkey

Get ready for a thrilling journey, as we sit down with Paralympian Brian Siemann for an intimate chat about his life as a professional athlete and his key to maintaining motivation. We’ll give you a taste of Brian's fascinating life, including his experiences as a quadruplet, his inspiring journey to becoming a world-class Paralympic athlete, what it is like to win all four races SIX times of runDisney's Dopey Challenge, and the challenges he overcomes to participate in marathons as a wheelchair racer.

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Get ready for a thrilling journey, as we sit down with Paralympian Brian Siemann for an intimate chat about his life as a professional athlete and his key to maintaining motivation. We’ll give you a taste of Brian's fascinating life, including his experiences as a quadruplet, his inspiring journey to becoming a world-class Paralympic athlete, what it is like to win all four races SIX times of runDisney's Dopey Challenge, and the challenges he overcomes to participate in marathons as a wheelchair racer.

Send us a Text Message.

Support the Show.

Let Registered Dietitian Carissa Galloway lead you through a science-backed plan to transform the way you think about your diet.
Visit www.GallowayCourse.com and use the code PODCAST at checkout for a great discount!

Become a 321 Go! Supporter. Help us continue to create! HERE

Follow us!
@321GoPodcast
@carissa_gway
@pelkman19

Email us 321GoPodcast@gmail.com

Order Carissa's New Book - Run Walk Eat

Improve sleep, boost recovery and perform at your best with PILLAR’s range of magnesium recovery supplements.
Use code 321GO at www.theFeed.com to get 15% off

Let Sara Akers with RunsOnMagic plan your next runDisney weekend!
IG @runsonmagic or you can go to www.RUNSONMAGIC.com or email her runsonmagictravel@gmail.com Use Promo Code 321GO







John Pelkey:

Welcome to 321 Go the Podcast. I'm John Pelkey.

Carissa Galloway:

And I'm Carissa Galloway and we're bringing you stories from start to finish to keep the everyday athlete motivated to keep moving towards the next finish.

John Pelkey:

Grissett. We have an awesome show today. Our guest is Paralympian Brian Siemann, a staple of the Team USA paratrack and field squad for over a decade, having competed in the past six world championships as well as the last three Paralympics. He's a six time winner of the Dopey Challenge in the Push Rim division. We're going to talk about his amazing professional racing career, some of his favorite things about a run Disney weekend, some of the challenges that come with doing what he does. Just a fascinating discussion.

Carissa Galloway:

We have and, john, to put it bluntly, I'm a hot mess right now. We got back at 2am. There's terrible weather in New York City, so nothing airline related, just happy to have gotten back at 2am. As you know, I have multiple jobs, so like real jobs literally by like 930,. There was like 30 emails of like glad you're back on board.

John Pelkey:

Got to build in that buffer day when traveling.

Carissa Galloway:

Got to build in the buffer day I honestly tried to and corporate America just going to say this they don't really care that you're on vacation, or I saw you're out of office and I'd just like to know, can I? It's okay, always grateful for work and things that need me, but I'm a little bit of a hot mess. I just got off the peloton, but the French Riviera has skyrocketed to the top of my list of places. I will want to go back, but we're going to talk about that another day. John, we're not going to talk about that today.

Carissa Galloway:

I do want to say, before we move on, a huge thank you to everyone who has bought. Runwalkeat came out about 10 days ago, had an amazing response. We're selling it on shop. JeffGalloway. com. People buy it there. It's everywhere. It's Barnes, noble, it's Amazon, it's Thrift Books. But if you buy it from that site, I'm autographing them, I'm sending them out personally. So we've got about 60 of them that I need to get out before I leave. But honestly, it's super humbling the response, seeing people make the recipes. So if you bought the book, a humongous thank you from the bottom of my heart for the support. And now I don't want to talk about me, john, because I want to talk about your amazing Disney Cruise. Where can we even start?

John Pelkey:

Well, we will start with because, legally, I'm required to let you know, as your team of lawyers made me a promise, that I did promote your book while on the ship what? And there were a number of RunDisney folks who actually reached out to me. My friend, matthew from Disney Daydrinkers ran into me in the coffee shop. So a number of RunDisney folks out there. I made sure I gave them information about the podcast, though a couple already were listeners and I let them know about your book. So get your army of lawyers off my back, carissa. I'm promoting it, for God's sake.

Carissa Galloway:

Well, thank you and thank you for people who are listening, and I'm sure you met at the coffee shop, maybe the bar.

John Pelkey:

Actually we did. There's a really cool little coffee cove and I was meeting up before a show, but that's a story for another day. But anyway, thanks to Matthew, who got me to be a part of the Disney Daydrinkers website and club, and all those folks over there who said some nice things to me since. So keep listening to the podcast, guys. They promised that they would.

Carissa Galloway:

Before we dive into what you did, I want to know first time on the Disney Wish, you have a lot of experience with Disney ships. What did you think?

John Pelkey:

I thought let's just start aesthetically. Inside there are some just fascinatingly beautiful things around. It is yeah, it feels a lot different than the other ships and I think I've been on everyone, save perhaps the fantasy. But again, because I get to do these DVC cruises, sometimes I lose track. It is quite different. I will also say I thought the food in the non upscale restaurants which I did not eat at Palo or Enchante Enchante.

Carissa Galloway:

I know because I wanted to check out.

John Pelkey:

My French is so good now.

Carissa Galloway:

I bet it is. I bet it is.

John Pelkey:

On that parcel, you called on the decaf.

Carissa Galloway:

I kept saying grassy-ass to people. I'm an idiot. Anyway, go on.

John Pelkey:

Anyway, we didn't do the upscale restaurants because I wanted to try all the other restaurants. I will say I think, as far as the restaurants that you're on rotation with is it Marvel or Avengers, whatever I think it's the Marvel 1923 and Arendelle far superior to the food on the other ships. In my mind, these food on the other ships was good, but I thought this was really, really a cut above. I really really liked that. That said, it is very difficult to find your way around that ship, particularly if you're used to the others.

Carissa Galloway:

Okay, so from the others this is different because I've only been on the Wish and I kind of think I know my way around.

John Pelkey:

It's very different. It's not quite as open. There are a lot more small space areas. It seems it's broken up a little more.

John Pelkey:

I'm not saying whether that's good or bad, but I will say, if you're used to the other ones, it took some getting used to and I talked to a lot of folks on the ship who felt the same way. Everybody who was on there first was just like wow, it's so amazing. And everyone else was like, yeah, but I miss this aspect of the other ship. But I applaud the fleet actually for changing them up a little because there was a sameness with the others. But it's always fun to go on one of these Again. Mark Fran and I are lucky enough to work the Disney Vacation Club cruises and this was a shorter cruise because on the new ship normally we do a week. This was a four night and we went to Nassau, which I never left. The ship had the whole day off because Ben there a number of times and loved Nassau but just wanted to relax. And we went to Castaway Key and we actually did a little work on Castaway Key, so fun times all around.

Carissa Galloway:

We're going to dive into everything you did, but the Disney Treasure was just unveiled, a lot of stuff going on about that and that, from my understanding, very similar to the Disney Wish. And all of this is coming from Brooke McDonald's Instagram, because that's about the diving in, but just kind of keeping the same ship, basically and, if I'm correct, and then swapping out, like I think there's a jungle cruise element where there was, like they're just swapping out. You know the different elements, so that's exciting as well. Shout out to our server Oswald he wasn't your server, was he? Because that would be amazing. He's going on the treasure, but my kids still think of him fondly. We had him twice.

John Pelkey:

Okay, we had great service. As always, those folks work very hard for you and, like I said, I think the main frustration was being as someone who's been on the ship so many times and knows my way around and you get a little cocky about that Quite often I just found myself in a hallway and really had no idea it was a maze. If we are indeed creatures in some sort of maze for a larger creature, as there are people who believe, I really felt it on the ship from time to time.

Carissa Galloway:

Well, Johnny's a smart man. If Johnny couldn't figure it out, we should all be concerned.

John Pelkey:

Alright, let's talk about you.

Carissa Galloway:

I saw pictures. Your wife was with you, lovely Jody. I was so excited for everything that you got to do. Seems like it was really well received. So talk me through a little bit about what you and Mark actually did.

John Pelkey:

Okay, yeah, we had again, with only a four night cruise. We had kind of a not a lot of duties but they were all sort of crammed into a very short period of time. We had a rehearsal the first night from one of our shows. Second day was NASA. I had the entire day off. Third day we had five shows and four rehearsals and then the final day we just did one show in the morning, late morning, and we were done. So it was all sort of crammed into mostly.

John Pelkey:

The one day we did some trivia and we had some really cool things to give away A hundred dollar state room credit to folks who came down on the island. We did some travel trivia courtesy of Adventures by Disney and National Geographic Travel Club, and that was our castaway key thing. We gave away signed Jody Benson biographies before the Princess excuse me, the little mermaid show that they had on the ship and then she did a little talk after us More about Jody later because I have some really great Jody stuff and then that night we did Disney's Things Hits with the Stars, which meant that yours truly had to sing on stage the Frollo part from Hunchback of Notre Dame with my friend Josh Strickland who was the original Tarzan on Broadway and has a glorious voice, and it was the one of the other. We talked about the layout of the ship. The weird thing is.

John Pelkey:

The weird thing for us was we normally do these shows in some of the theaters in the ship. Everything seems a little smaller. There's a lot more of it, but the venues themselves are smaller. So we actually did it in the ship's atrium and I actually have a photo that I found online. Somebody said hey, there's a picture of you standing and what it looked like from the stage, which I've got to look at. I've never actually been in a venue where the energy was any better and we were really worried about it because you know, there were chairs on the floor but people were standing behind the chairs. They were on like three different levels, going up the ship and had this amphitheater feel to it. And then the Broadway talent was so good, it just was electric and I had to sing in front of people in that venue.

Carissa Galloway:

I've heard you sing really once. It's a video that I have on my phone that I'm not allowed to show people.

John Pelkey:

You did see me, you did actually see me in Racton, the musical as well.

Carissa Galloway:

Professional I guess that's true, but like, how did that go? Because Josh is phenomenal, he is so beloved, he is amazing. How long did you know you were going to sing? And then were you just like I'm going for it. Or like, how was that?

John Pelkey:

I found out about a week out and the story and this will not surprise people we have a thing hits with the Disney stars. My job is to pick the volunteers and whenever it's a woman's part to sing, lots of hands go up, but when it's a men's part to sing, not so much. And about a week out I think they were sweating it out that no one would really know the Frollo part very well, and I didn't either. I'd seen Hunchback in the theater and maybe heard the song a couple of times. I wasn't that familiar with it, but they were really afraid that no one would volunteer. So I was volunteered. They reached out to me and asked me if I would be willing to do it, and if I wasn't going to do it, mark was going to do it.

John Pelkey:

And I have to give myself credit and I never really give myself any credit for anything and I'm trying to learn to give myself a little bit more grace, because a thousand times in my lifetime I would have said no to that and there's nothing I enjoy more than singing on stage. But the thought of doing it in that venue with Josh in that situation, it was intimidating and I think it would be frankly to anybody, because you're not going to get to really rehearse together and we didn't. But I said yes and familiarized myself with the music. But the 30 minutes before that show was as nervous as I've ever been doing anything in my life.

John Pelkey:

So you're like doing it's kind of like the 5K.

Carissa Galloway:

You're doing a show, you're performing, but your brain is totally somewhere else.

John Pelkey:

And I had to and it really had to. It was a struggle because I had things I had to do logistically because my part in singing with Josh, I was the last one to sing with the Broadway folks and there were a couple of things after us that were really fun, but that was the last thing to be done. So prior to that, I had to find somebody to set up my singing it, because I set it up by having a young lady from Run Disney I believe her name was Stephanie basically say that I was the biggest jerk in the room. Long story. I'll explain it to you, carissa, later, and if anybody can email me, reach out on my Instagram or something you want to find out. So I had to do that. I had to pick the other guests and give them information as to where they had to go and when and all that sort of thing. So just keeping my mind on that was as difficult as anything that I had to do. Equally as difficult, frankly, is once I got up there to sing.

John Pelkey:

The other thing about it was when I listened to the music. I heard the tracks a couple of times beforehand. If you listen to the song, I should probably let everybody know that the song is out there from Hunchback and Notre Dame. If you listen to the beginning, there's like a two measure cello, oboe some sort of thing that gets you into it and gives you your note. If you're the singer, you can pick your note out of the chord. They decided to just simply do away with that and so basically it was just a countdown and I had to come in on the first line and luckily it's the type of thing you could sort of as I referred to it and this is Giveaway my Age, I could Rex Harrison it a little which is just talk through the first two lines and then get into the song. But officially I've not seen any video of it.

Carissa Galloway:

Officially, but it might exist on the download.

John Pelkey:

But I felt pretty good about it that night and then watching it again. I will give myself credit, which I seldom do.

John Pelkey:

I nailed it frankly, that's amazing, and I know that more because the aforementioned Jodie Benson, the original, the voice of Ariel in Little Mermaid. She grabbed me by the shoulders after the show and said you killed it. Now I don't know if that meant her hearing from having to listen to me. No, obviously she's very generous about it and it was. You know, it's a highlight thing. It will be a highlight thing from my career to get to do that and Josh is very, very generous and a sweet guy. Ran into him a couple of times and every time you see me he'd call me Bad Daddy.

Brian Siemann:

You're.

John Pelkey:

Bad Daddy because you're a bad daddy. So yeah, I did, and a shout out to everybody involved Andrew Levitt, who is also the drag queen, nina West, who hosted the show, mark Ferrera Everybody was kind of just you know, letting me know it'll be OK, and I know, you know, you know that and you know, as a performer, there were just times when you know you're going to have to do something that is somewhat outside your comfort zone and I am notorious for never doing anything outside my comfort zone, so I was kind of sweating it, though I do believe Andrew turned to me just before the show and said don't worry, your entire career is dependent upon what you're about to do.

Carissa Galloway:

They actually brought in a replacement for you. I don't know if you know that they were on the show.

Brian Siemann:

Did they really?

Carissa Galloway:

If something went wrong, you were out. They had brought in a replacement. Riley was there waiting. He was hunkered in an agendas closet.

John Pelkey:

Oh wow, he'd have killed it too, man he was ready to come out. He'd have killed it. Luckily the song was within my range and it's not a very rangy song. It was very bassy, which is where my voice goes now, so it was really great to get to do it.

Carissa Galloway:

Yeah, I'm super, I'm super proud of you, because we all face anxiety in situations like that. It's our brain, things of every scenario that can go wrong. Instead of that fulfillment, that, no, I can, you know, sivakoo, rise to the challenge. I'm really proud of you and I think you brought up a lot of what people might not understand. Well, you're just going to have to sing, but it's not just singing. There's so many things that go on with any performance of that little music. Can I hear myself? Can I hear the other person? Are we on sync? What am I doing before? Did I get my cue? Did I get to warm up? You probably didn't. So there's so much. It's not just simply like karaoke, where you step up there. Hopefully I can see this and you'll appreciate this. You'll appreciate this too.

John Pelkey:

That my schedule made it really, really nerve wracking, because I told you I had such a busy day but it was all sort of front loaded and then I had like two hours before the show just to lay on the bed in my cabin and contemplate how far the fall from the, from the balcony was into the water and how cold the water would be. But you know, in truth it's that it's that rarest of things. When it's something that is so intimidating but gets your adrenaline to a point that is just you know you're heightened, and then it's also something that is the thing that I most love to do. You know from my singing in, not necessarily from my ever listening to my singing in, though I kind of nailed this one.

Carissa Galloway:

I can't wait it's a grumpy bad guy.

John Pelkey:

Yeah, it's a grumpy bad guy.

Carissa Galloway:

That's you.

John Pelkey:

You know if I had to sing Hakuna Matata.

Carissa Galloway:

Well, pumbas, pumbas, you know, pumbas, come in your way, you springtime supporters.

John Pelkey:

I'm I'm Anglin, that Mark and I get to do that for the next cruise in the spring. So now, now that now that thousands of people came up to me on the ship it won't probably thousands, but or like you can actually sing and I went.

Carissa Galloway:

John, you might be turning a corner. First of all, can you finally update our bio for the website and say performed with Josh Sturcklin, right.

John Pelkey:

I'll have a series of photos that we were not allowed to take of.

Carissa Galloway:

Before we wrap, any other highlights. I know you got Ashley X Sting. Was there, brett? Was there? The voice of Mickey Mouse, any other?

John Pelkey:

highlights that you want to share? Yeah, as well. I believe her name is Caitlin, who's the voice of Minnie Mouse. We did a show with them and Ashley, which was a lot of fun and they got to sing. But the highlight singing with Josh obviously is a highlight. The other highlight was that the Muppets were on the ship with us and Kermit actually hosted the Broadway show, which is the last show of the cruise.

John Pelkey:

Broadway folks do do a concert, which is always fabulous, and sometimes it's hosted by someone from the ship. Sometimes it's hosted by another Broadway star who, my friend, bobby, did it last year, but this time it was done by Kermit the Frog, and not just Kermit, but Sam Eagle gave the gave the speech, the curtain speech beforehand. Fuzzy Bear was there, miss Piggy and Animal, and they were all integrated into it. But, most importantly, at the end of our sing hits with the stars, which was the night before, kermit came out for the big finale and we all sang Rainbow Connection, which is one of my favorite songs, but prior to that he's talking about well, what a great night it was and what a great job Mark and John did. So Kermit the Frog said I flip a name.

Carissa Galloway:

That's amazing, I know.

John Pelkey:

I wish my name was not quite as common, like it was Aloysius or whatever, so but still he was referring to Mark and Mark and that other guy that sang that's not how Kermit talks at all.

John Pelkey:

Mark and announcers Bad Kermit, the Frog impersonation. The other cool thing about the Muppets is that they hosted this thing live and you could see the puppeteers they were. They were on their rolling chairs and stuff doing it, so everyone in the audience could see what it took to do that. And then it was on the screen as well, where it was shot, as if you would. You'd see it in the Muppet show or in a film, and it was fascinating. Fossey Bear takes two people working in concert and found out some interesting things about it too. They you would think they hired puppeteers to teach them and then teach them improv, but it's the other way around. They, you know they do have people who are professional puppeteers and people who learn that, but their preference was improvisational performers who could then learn the puppeteering part of it, which I thought was really interesting.

Carissa Galloway:

That makes perfect sense. Huge Muppets yeah, knowing you know, knowing I maybe took an improv class one that you are a wonderful improv actor, knowing that background, knowing what it takes, that makes perfect sense for them to do that very smart it does yeah.

John Pelkey:

It does, I think, because you know the not the mechanical aspects of doing those puppets and making them look real is is phenomenal, but it seems like something you could probably teach somebody to do in a shorter period of time than the improv. And some people are built for improv and some aren't, and that includes, like some they're very successful actors who don't have a background in that, but they get a lot of area that they can improv and they are super funny. And Kermit the Frog said my name.

Carissa Galloway:

That's amazing. It sounds like there was a lot of great stuff. Jody Benz, you told me I killed it and we're going to come in with a bonus episode in the next couple of weeks. We can, if you have questions about this, send them to us. We can dive in more to everything that John had on the cruise. We're going to talk a little bit about some other Disney activities that John got to do in a bonus episode, but super exciting, super cool, and now you're going to have to sing at the start line.

John Pelkey:

Sure, yeah, sure, I, you know, I will say, my ego is thinking man, if somebody shows up dressed like Quasimodo.

Carissa Galloway:

I can have my moment Now. You've done it, you and singing. You know Andrew the singing runner. Maybe you guys could work something out.

John Pelkey:

An entire pre-show. That's a musical. We base it, we take the, the trope that you see in TV shows like the after party, and we start basing our shows on a different style of film or theater. So we do a film noir version before a 5K, we do a little musical before the 10K. Now I can dance.

Carissa Galloway:

I can sing, so can I. Can I get either a lip sync situation? You can act, sing.

John Pelkey:

You can do like patter song stuff.

Carissa Galloway:

Jazz hands, yeah, yeah.

John Pelkey:

And you, and if we need any dancing, you seem like you would be better suited for that. I better say we had a choreographed dance at Disneyland one year.

Carissa Galloway:

That was something about being your Disney best. With the country bears, we had a choreographed line dance and Buster Hart Andrea Coyman are my co-announcer over there Did her best. She did her Disney best and it was it was a source of stress for her.

John Pelkey:

That would.

Carissa Galloway:

I mean hey, no dance on stage.

John Pelkey:

I love that. Would that, would you know again going to sing on stage? I was incredibly nervous. Dance on stage would have been Lying about a medical condition to get out of it because that would have just yeah, because you've seen me do that and it really really should be something.

Carissa Galloway:

I have seen you dance and I paid for a. I chuckled internally a little bit watching you do your best because you you can see someone thinking as they're doing. You know you were performing, you were right and that's not a bad thing. That's not your wheelhouse, I'm not knocking on you, but it's just we all have that thing that we like. I cannot sing, you never, everybody. Always. The joke with A announcer Wolf the anthem singer doesn't show up like no, you know right yeah, no, I it, yeah it.

John Pelkey:

Dancing for me, that that is the, that is the thing, and I have no in musicals that I do or I have to dance. I have no breaks during rehearsal because I literally have to spend every waking moment trying to learn the most rudimentary of steps. It's like me trying to do social media, trying to learn how to make a video on Instagram, right now.

Speaker 4:

So it is the equivalent of that.

John Pelkey:

Keep going. It is the equivalent of that. But anyway, thanks for asking about it and thanks for your support and you knew I was kind of nervous about the whole thing as well, but it was. It was a lot of fun and a Disney cruise is Clearly Carissa, a dream vacation. Your thinking of a Disney cruise or a dream vacation to? We have you covered. We want to take a minute to thank our sponsor, katie McBride, with travel Mation Carissa. I know you're a really big fan of using a travel agent like Katie.

Carissa Galloway:

I am. I love the time-saving, the stress-free planning and the expertise Katie brings, because what she's gonna do, you're gonna say here's what I think I want, and then she's gonna sort through everything to give you the options that align with your budget, your desires, everything you want to do. She's gonna make it so you can turn your travel dreams into reality. And if you want to do that, contact Katie today to embark on a journey filled with seamless Experiences and unforgettable moments. You can reach out to Katie. She's at wwwtravelkateymcbridecom. Will have the website in the show notes and have a wonderful trip.

Speaker 4:

Okay, civilians, it's time for the goods. Let's get on to the interview.

John Pelkey:

Today's guest is a three-time Paralympian, six-time world championship participant who recently found the podium twice at the Para athletics World championships in Paris, winning the bronze medals in both the 480 and 100 meters, and a six-time winner, the run Disney Dopey challenge in the push rim division. Please welcome to three, two, one go, brian Seaman. Brian, how are you?

Brian Siemann:

I'm fantastic. How are you all doing?

John Pelkey:

doing great. It's so great to have you here oh.

Brian Siemann:

Thank you for having me. I'm real excited.

John Pelkey:

All right, we are gonna jump in. We want to talk about your history and everything, but I do have to say at the top I mentioned it Congratulations on your bronze medals. You have been Tanalysing close to the podium on a number of occasions. The number of fourth place finishes that I read about is really, really amazing. Can you tell?

Carissa Galloway:

me amazing. I mean for that. I don't think he would call them amazing.

John Pelkey:

No, I mean it is amazing to be that close and with the. You know the how close those times were. But I have to ask you and we're just a couple of weeks out really from your having done that what, what does that feel like after having those great performances? I?

Brian Siemann:

Think that getting the finally making the podium was truly a dream come true, and you know, it's something that took me 12 years to achieve. I've. You know I joke that if there was a gold medal for fourth place finishes, I would. I would be the recipient of that because I have come so close and and so the.

Brian Siemann:

When it happened in the the 400, which was the the first event that I won the bronze in, I Actually really didn't believe it because it was a very close race. At at the end there was an athlete from Thailand that was coming around on my inside on the track and we were really sprinting it out and I Remember thinking the last 80 meters or so of that race, like don't stop, but also like don't let another fourth place happen to you. I don't know if I can handle another another fourth place. That is that close and so so for me it was really. It was something that was incredible and it was special that I got to celebrate it with some of my teammates who I've trained with my entire you know, athletic, professional athletic career and and yeah, it's just truly an incredible experience.

Carissa Galloway:

I love that feeling. What, what did it feel like that moment when you got you know, finally got that medal and you got up on the podium? What was that like?

Brian Siemann:

I Was smiling from ear to ear. It was. It was really cool. I didn't want to look like a nerd on the on the podium. You know I was and I was. I was sitting next to Two incredible athletes, one from Canada, one from Thailand, and I've raced against them for years and they've been up there before, and so for them I was like this is nothing for you, but for me this was really special, and so, you know, they announced her name and then they'll have a the flag Raised in the third position, and it was. It was really special to just sort of to get to be there and to how all of the the work that I had sort of that I've put into to racing since I started, pay off finally.

Carissa Galloway:

I'm not for nothing. Fourth place is still fantastic on on a world stage, but it's that moment of getting you know that, that medal, that just I can, just I'm excited for you. But um, let's go back to the beginning. Tell us a little bit about your family and your upbringing. It's not often we get to talk to a Paralympian and I did not know until John did a lot of research that you were a quadruplet. I am a quadruplet.

Brian Siemann:

That's not a question. I'm a quadruplet, that's. That's another fun fact about me that I sometimes tend to neglect to mention. But so I am a quadruplet, I I'm the only boy. It's three girls and me. I was the third in the group.

Brian Siemann:

I'm a growing up. My sister's an eye, my sister's did more of the sports. I never really did any Any sports growing up because, to be quite honest, back in the early 2000s it was really difficult to you couldn't really find any opportunities for disabled people to to get involved in athletics, and so I think for me, I looked at it as I was never really athletic anyway. I much preferred playing video games. I I never really viewed fitness as something that was important and I just kind of accepted the fact that, okay, yes, sports is a free, I'll do something else. My sisters were. They played field hockey, they played basketball, they were pretty active, and so I was always the like cheerleader, I would go and support them and that was always exciting for me. And I'd never really got involved in sports until high school. Because on my first day of high school, my then Coach came up to me and he asked me if I could walk or if I just had a broken leg, which is a pretty Pretty aggressive question to ask someone.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I told him.

Brian Siemann:

I said I looked at myself, oh, I can't walk. And he said, okay, well, why don't you come out for the track team? And I looked at him and I said I just told you I can't walk. And he was like, yeah, I know, I know he's like.

Brian Siemann:

I've seen other kids in wheelchairs compete at our state, our high school state track meet. I've never coached a kid in a wheelchair. But if you're willing to give it a try, I am, and I hate confrontation, I hate saying like, I hate any sort of sorry. I was like, yeah, sure, not having any idea what I was getting myself into.

Brian Siemann:

And so my high school raised money for my first racing chair and Then I started training with my high school track team. Every day I was out there with the distance guys and they found a junior's team that was about an hour and a half away from my house that they connected me with, where I learned more of the technical aspects of wheelchair racing. But most of my training before I got I went to college was a training with my high school team, and that was I. Even then, looking back on it, you know, I that was not something. I never really considered racing as something that I would do in College or even really knew that it existed, and as I continued to go on the square, I learned about different opportunities that we had.

John Pelkey:

Yeah, you mentioned coach McLaughlin help you actually If finance your first, your first chair. It was not an insignificant amount. That's around five thousand dollars, if what I read was correct.

Brian Siemann:

Yeah, yeah, and that's one of the biggest barriers to entry for for any kind of adaptive sport, but for realtor racing specifically, is on, the equipment's expensive and when you're, you know, a teenager and growing, you're gonna need to go, you know, get different chairs. It's not like you can go to the the sports store and get a new pair of running shoes, so so they tend to make chairs. They're bigger, their bulkier, so that you can kind of grow into it. But the problem with wheelchair racing is you want the chair to be as tight and slim as possible so that you're more aerodynamic and you, you can, your stroke, mechanics are efficient and so.

Brian Siemann:

So, yeah, looking back on that entire experience, my high school, raising that money was truly the biggest gamble in the world and, and something that I'm really grateful for, because, you know, I didn't know that it cost that much money. I didn't even know if I was going to like the sport. I was not athletic and and the fact that I lucked into this sport is is truly also an entirely different story, because I really am not Coordinated. I'm I'm terrible at any kind of. I've tried wheelchair basketball.

Brian Siemann:

I'm a terrible swimmer, you know I am not very, I like to say I'm not athletic, even though I'm US Paralympic athlete, but I lucked into wheelchair racing. If it was any other sport I would not be here right now.

John Pelkey:

Yes, you're a world-class athlete, but you're not very athletic. So there's hope for us all people.

Carissa Galloway:

John, that keeps seems like it's a theme here. We're always like John, you can keep going.

John Pelkey:

I'm still just a really bad high school wide receiver, but there's hope for me.

Carissa Galloway:

What did we? Who did we have? We had somebody that said like, oh yeah, Heinz Ward rate of marathon and John's like Heinz Ward is like one of the best football players of all time. Why are you comparing us to?

John Pelkey:

each other. He's almost your age and I was like, yeah, he was also an NFL football player.

Carissa Galloway:

You could be Johnny, you can do.

John Pelkey:

You can do anything you can do it, yes, but it all seriousness.

Carissa Galloway:

I love that that coach gave you that opportunity, that that coach saw you, and then that opened a door for you. You got a scholarship to the University of Illinois, which has one of the best, of not the best, facilities For athletes with disabilities, and it's notable for its culture of inclusivity. So how did you end up there and what did you take away from your time there?

Brian Siemann:

Yeah, so when I, like I said when I first started racing, it was something that I didn't know I would like and I I sort of kind of figured I would do it for Maybe a year or two in high school and then I'd be done with it or, if you know, I again, to avoid confrontation I would do it through high school and then my plan was to be a teacher and I would just stay in New Jersey and call it a day. But as I started racing, you know, everyone kept saying, I kept hearing Illinois, illinois, and I was like, what's in Illinois? There's nothing out there, it's corn fields. And so I was like, why would I leave New Jersey for this?

John Pelkey:

somewhere people in Chicago are going. Oh, I'm sorry. We know you were born in Brooklyn, but good Lord.

Carissa Galloway:

That's gonna be the quote. I'm gonna be back. Why would I leave New Jersey?

Brian Siemann:

With the.

John Pelkey:

Bruce Springsteen song playing.

Brian Siemann:

Exactly, and so I so anyway. So I I Kept hearing about Illinois and I discovered that they had a collegiate program. I still really had no desire to go there, but we, the University, hosts an adaptive sports camp every summer and my junior year of high school I went as a participant and I fell in love with, with the campus. Not only was was I getting to train alongside some of my idols and in, you know, wheelchair racing, but truly the campus is incredibly accessible and it was the first time in my life that I never really had to think about getting around. I could just exist and and that was something that was special to me and I said I remember leaving there. And I was like I said I remember leaving there and I said I want to come here, and if I was like I'm gonna focus on getting my SAT scores up and my grades up and if I get in, this is where I'm going, and and that's about what's ended up happening and I haven't left.

John Pelkey:

Go go a line. I well done out of out of them now in. In high school you mainly participated in distance events, but you get to Illinois and you become a sprinter. A, why and B. What was that transition like for you? I?

Brian Siemann:

Don't know why I. I made that transition because sprints are miserable, but I apparently have a knack for sprints more so than I do distance events. The thing about wheelchair racing, that's really nice and the way my coach describes it. We actually do a lot of high-speed work in our marathon training, and so he describes our sprint interval, our interval workouts, really as Sort of the, the sharpening stone to being able to perform in marathons. And so when I first got to you of I Probably actually the summer before I got there I met with my coach and he he had asked me, said, do you want to do the Chicago marathon?

Brian Siemann:

And I had never done a marathon before. And I said, you know, that'd be kind of cool, like I wanted to be one of those. I wanted to do a marathon and and so we just sort of incorporated some longer distance training into my, my workouts, but a lot of the work that we did with sprints. And then that's kind of where I discovered that I was probably a much better sprinter in wheelchair racing than I was in the longer distance events. And so while I still do marathons and the, the distance events on the track, my specialties are the 400 and the 800.

John Pelkey:

Yeah, I would. You actually stole my my follow-up question and that was that you are a sprinter and that's those of the events that you said you Excellent. But I heard an interview with you where you said well, you know, on, I'm around the Olympic Village anyway and don't really have a lot to do and I qualified, so I take I take part in the marathon and all of those as well. I think the question we all have for that is why don't you just rest, brian, when you're in the Olympic Village, go see the bands there. There's got to be something going on. What is it that draws you back to those distance runs?

Brian Siemann:

Well, they're fun, I will say they're fun to do, and the great thing about Any of the the Olympic and Paralympic marathon courses are that they tend to be designed To be more spectator friendly, so you get to go and see different things around this, the host city, and so For London, the course is different from the traditional London marathon, and so you get to see a little bit more. I actually chose not to do the the marathon in Rio, so I did take one one year off it for the Rio games, but in Tokyo it was very cool as well, because I that's because of the, the COVID precautions we weren't allowed to to really leave the village, and that was the one time I got to leave the village. So I got to see more of Tokyo than a lot of the other athletes by subjecting myself to 26.2 miles. Wow, that's amazing. And you keep stealing our questions.

Carissa Galloway:

But I think you're just because you're just such an intuitive guy there. But you are, as you alluded to, a three-time Paralympian, the first time being in London. Take us through that first Paralympic experience, going from a guy who was just the cheerleader, you know, there for fun, to a coach that took a chance on you, to now, here you are in the Olympics representing team USA.

Brian Siemann:

Making the a Paralympic team was always. Once I got to University of Illinois, making a Paralympic team was always the goal it was. That, to me, was what I wanted to do. Meddling was never really, I think, in my my goals at the time. Just being able to say that I made the team and I'm representing the United States was that was probably the only thing I ever wanted to do and. But when I got to the games, everything sort of shifted. At the time, in 2012, I was I was ranked one or two number one or number two in the world in in the sprint events with my teammate, joshua George, and Unfortunately I didn't have a great games experience In terms of performance, but I left those games Feeling like there was more in in the tank, and so that's them where I said wait, I can maybe do this, I can, I can, I can maybe metal, and so I then decided that's where I was going to focus and train on.

Brian Siemann:

But the first games is always special, it's unique, it is You're kind of an awe of everything around you. You get, you go to the village and it's it's just an area that is entirely catered to Supporting you as an athlete. I always say that my favorite Element of the the village is always the dining hall, because it is this massive Building basically, where they have food from around the world and it's set up in different stations and you can just go and get to sample a little bit of everything. Now, unfortunately, when you're there competing, you're not, you don't. You don't want to mix it up too much with the foods that you're trying, but you do if you with it, within reason, you've got there's, there's so much of that, there's so much food, there are athletes from around the world.

Brian Siemann:

Till you sit down with athletes from different countries and just Try to communicate as best as you can, everyone is. It's kind of becomes the, it becomes the centralized point where you get to meet you, where you meet with everyone. There's this sort of At the end of the games, you exchange your gear with other, with either your competitors or just athletes from other countries, and so it's like you bring like your bags of your Nike gear and everything like that, and you start, you just kind of talk to people and exchange, exchange clothes, and so it's always. That's always my favorite. My favorite place is the dining hall. So so, but then everything else is just incredible. And then you go into the stadium for the first time for opening ceremonies and they, they announce you know, united states of america, and it's just like the crowd erupts. You, you see the flag walking, you get to walk around the track and it's just really. It's moments like that that you never forget and it's so, so, so special that I I can say that I've gotten to experience that multiple times.

Carissa Galloway:

Was it different in the three? You know, because you were in london, you were in rio, you were in japan and, obviously, covid restrictions notwithstanding, but those are two very culturally different areas, so was there sort of a different vibe for each one of those?

Brian Siemann:

Yes, there was a different vibe for every single one. Now, I didn't go to the ones in tokyo just because of the the precautions that they were making us do is a lot of sitting around. Usually actually is a lot of sitting around just Everyone. When you're watching on television, you just see the countries walk in and it's really great, but it's usually about three to four hours of standing around as an athlete before you get to walk in. It's a lot of prep work beforehand, which which people don't get to see. But that's some, some inside knowledge for for all the listeners here.

Carissa Galloway:

I do have another question. I want to go back just to understand. So I'm familiar with the process of national championship competition. That's how you qualify the Olympics. Is it the same way for the Paralympics or is it based on rankings?

Brian Siemann:

It's similar. So there is a ranking list that is based off of your performance, your highest ranked performance, based off of the national A team standard. So you have to run that time at our trials and you also have to earn a start right, so that's top three in the event. So not only do you have to have the highest ranking, but you also have to have top three in that particular event. And that's because there are so many different classifications, which are how you categorize different disabled athletes, because a wheelchair racer is not going to run and compete against an arm amputee. We're in different categories and so they have classifications to make sure that the competition is fair.

Carissa Galloway:

And then correct me if I'm wrong with there's some classifications that have different events that are allowed to compete at. Not every event per se has every single classification. Is that right Exactly?

Brian Siemann:

And so the wheelchair racers have the most events, and I think that primarily is because wheelchair racers were really at the heart and the core of starting the Paralympic movement and then, as it grew and more disabilities were included, they were able to compete. And some of it is also just because there might not be depth of field for some classifications versus others.

Carissa Galloway:

But wheelchair is a very competitive group and you I mean just to make it to the Olympics three times and make all these world teams is super impressive. But it's also impressive, john, to win the Dopey Challenge.

John Pelkey:

It is, and you know we see more and more chair athletes at Disney every year, and you've been at it for a very long time. I think your first race was an Avengers race out in Disneyland. What?

Carissa Galloway:

brought you to run the best wait, the best race ever.

John Pelkey:

This is simply because I don't announce that she enjoys it the best. What brought you to run Disney and what keeps you coming back?

Brian Siemann:

So my entrance into run Disney truly was kind of by happenstance. I didn't even know that it existed, sort of. So I think I would. I would class on myself as prior to run Disney stuff. I think I was a normal Disney fan. I went.

Brian Siemann:

I went a couple times with my family growing up, but actually back in 2013, my one of my sisters was getting married and so we coordinated like a last trip as quadruplets together right before she got married, and that's where I fell in love with Disney. I said we had so much fun and I said I want to keep coming back here, and so we were looking and I was doing some research and then I saw that there were these run Disney races where you, you got to go run around the Disney parks, and I said, wait, I'm a, I'm a distance runner and I love Disney, so I want to do this and it gives me an excuse to go. I get to like, say, I'm racing, but I really get to go to Disney. And then, on top of all of it, it was an Avengers race and I am the biggest like Marvel and superhero fan of all time, and so so that was just the cherry on on on top of everything. So sign me up.

Brian Siemann:

Infinity Gauntlet challenge I'm doing it, and that was my first time in Disneyland as well. So I got you know. So that was I started there. I had so much fun, and I think the unique, the unique element of Disneyland races is just how close everything is. And so I I really got to experience not only racing in the parks, but then I got to cheer for the first time was the first time I've ever been able. I have been in a race that I've cheered for people and I had so much fun doing that. And then I saw that there was a Disney World marathon in 2015. And so that was my first Disney World marathon. I said let's just do it. I didn't know the dopey exists. I think that was 2015. I'd have been the first dopey. It was around then, but I didn't know that that even that whole series exists. That's how sort of knew I was everything. So I only did the marathon.

Carissa Galloway:

I only know it's hard to not say it's like it's. You know, we understand, we get it, you're talking to you know your people.

Brian Siemann:

Yeah, and so I did the marathon and I actually did it with my buddy, rob. He did it at a push room chair as well and he actually beat me that year. We were, we were pushing together and right around mile 22, he there was a downhill and I'm not good at downhills and he took off and I was not able to close that gap and much, much credit to him for winning that year. But then 2016, we came back and I was doing dopey and I won all the events and that was really, really exciting and it was the first time I got. I actually did. You know, you do all the events and that was an experience of the you know 2am wake up calls to get ready, and I maintain that dopey itself is not hard, it is the wake up, the waking up every day by by day four. I am just exhausted and it's not from racing, it is just from, it is just from the early morning.

John Pelkey:

We've even said that to people you know running and I'm going to say, because I've run a 5k, just a 5k. It's like, yes, okay, 3.1 miles, but you're not doing it at 10 o'clock in the morning after you slept in late, you've gotten little or no sleep, you've had you have to jump through a lot of hoops just to get to the starting line. So yeah, folks out there listening, they're the. Logistically there's a lot that goes into it, beyond just the distance that you're traveling.

Carissa Galloway:

Yeah, all right, let's talk a little Disney, because you mentioned Marvel. I'm a huge Marvel fan. I say it every single time Avengers was the greatest, or whatever it was. I got to be on stage with Thor. It was amazing. We're really Captain America, but that's fine. We're just splitting hairs here. But do you have a favorite Disney character or one you would like to see on the course? And do you even have time to like take in everything on the course, because it's still really dark when you're out there? You guys are going pretty fast. So, yeah, favorite Disney character, who do you want to see? And do you see anybody?

Brian Siemann:

My favorite Disney character that I would love to see on the course is Russell from up hands, and I have told our incredible cyclists that are with us that if I've ever see Russell, I am stopping for a picture. Unfortunately, I think one of the years I'm missing, russell wasn't out by the time when I was I was getting. I had already passed Russell by the time he was out. But Russell is my favorite character of all time. It makes me, he makes me so happy, and so I would love to see Russell at some point and I would stop for a picture with Russell if he was there.

Carissa Galloway:

So we'll have to put the to the powers to be. Maybe Russell needs to come to an early and early morning set. Then go take a break.

John Pelkey:

We do know some people. Sadly, none of them listen to us, but we do know them.

Carissa Galloway:

We know them. Do you have a favorite run Disney event memory for you that stands out?

Brian Siemann:

A favorite run Disney memory. I would probably say I think the first time. So it would be during. It would be the first time I went into Magic Kingdom. I think what's really unique about being in my position as a push room athlete is that I really get to go in there where there's no one there, and so Magic Kingdom feels like it's mine and really special. You're running down Main Street, usa and it's just. It's a really cool experience again to just be able to say like just to take it all in and not it's a different experience than when I'm visiting the parks. Just, you know, for fun I get to be doing sport and I also get to kind of have it to myself, which is nice.

John Pelkey:

It's one of the great joys of working for Disney is having the opportunity from time to time to get into the parks when there's no one else there. No offense to all other people that annoy me, but to be there, and particularly with the lights on, it really is. It really is remarkable. And you kind of led me into the question I wanted to ask here too, because generally you are out on your own in that first wave and you're moving very, very quickly, but from time to time as an adaptive chair athlete, you end up with actually the rest of the runners out on the course. Are there any etiquette tips for people, because you guys have some challenges as far as you can't slow down quite as quickly and need a little bit wider berth. We know there are some tight spaces, particularly on our course. If you want to, if you had an opportunity to speak to other runners, what would you tell them, etiquette wise, when they're dealing with adaptive and chair athletes?

Brian Siemann:

Yeah, I think that's a great question because you never want to.

Brian Siemann:

You know everyone has trained really hard to get there and you never want a collision to sort of impact someone's training and all the work that they've put towards that race.

Brian Siemann:

I would say I think number one, following the rule of like two people wide and not going, not taking over the road completely, because if you're, if you're about two wide, that gives the chair athlete the space to maneuver.

Brian Siemann:

I always tend to err on the side of if a chair athlete is passing a runner, that is, the chairs respond the athlete and the chairs. It's their responsibility to make sure that they have enough clearance and they're more efficiently able to do that if they actually don't have to be worried about people spread out all over the course, because then it's a very, it can be very tight. And I think just paying attention, because a lot of the other athletes who use chairs are pretty vocal about if they, if they're coming up or if they need space and so just listening to on your left, on your right and I know sometimes people like to run with with headphones and stuff but trying to make sure that maybe you're you're listening to that too, so that you're able to you're just kind of aware of your surroundings to make sure that that, if, if you hear something, then you're able to kind of quickly adjust and alter your, your trajectory.

Carissa Galloway:

I think you know, run Disney. We like to say role Disney. I don't know really when that came up, but we kind of you guys are such an amazing group that inspires so many people. Do you feel like that camaraderie there with the role Disney athletes?

Brian Siemann:

Oh, absolutely, and and you know they are so welcoming, especially because I'm only able to come typically for marathon weekend and I'd love to be able to do more, but usually one of the other marathons is happening during a springtime surprise or or food and wine, which is on my bucket list, and so they welcome me with open arms every year and you know they are a great community of athletes who are training so hard and I'm jealous that sometimes they get to do more run Disney races than me.

Carissa Galloway:

Well, we welcome you anytime, but we know that you you know you have a busy schedule. What we I do here and whenever we're able to down there interview someone is is everything that you guys go through, and so often it's a story of well, my wheelchair, this happened to my chair, and this it broke, and this, that and like. Can you talk to us about how hard what you do is physically, but also from a mechanical standpoint, and how much sometimes it's out of your control?

Brian Siemann:

Yeah, that's the mechanics of the mechanics of, and all of the technical elements of a racing chair or a hand cycle. Everything needs to be tuned in and dialed in so well, and even just the slightest you know drop of humidity can just completely ruin someone's grip. So a lot of people think that a push from athlete, for instance, that we grip the hand rings that we have, but we actually don't. We wear specialized gloves that are custom made to our hands that then have tire rubber on them and you use a friction based propulsion basically to maneuver that to push the chair. And so when it gets wet, if or if it's humid out, that starts to slip, and if you start slipping you have no ability to, you can't move really, and it's not like we can just get out of our chair and just keep going around like we are in that device until we can either get support or if someone's steering snaps off, for instance, sometimes that happens, it just happens.

Brian Siemann:

You can't then maneuver those tight turns in the parks. You can't do that and so you have to. Then it becomes much more challenging just to get to that finish line. And so you know, whenever I see those those things happen, it's always it's sad because you realize that, and it's also exciting when they, when the athletes, do cross that finish line. You see that because you know, I know from my own experience, so I can relate to how much more difficult it was for them to get to that finish line than what they were initially planning on at the start of that race.

Carissa Galloway:

Well, I think what you just said there. Make sure Six Dopey wins even more impressive, because it's easy for us to say like, oh well, brian's an Olympian, of course he can come and he can, he can win these. But you had to. That's six times and four races where I'm sure things maybe went wrong or the weather wasn't great, and you still persevered with great success.

Brian Siemann:

Yeah, yeah, no, and my biggest fear always actually is flatting a tire. That's probably the biggest concern that I always have as a racer is that you never know what you're going to run over. And you know we carry a spare tire on our chairs that we're trained on how to you know switch it out and then we use a portable CO2 inflator and to get it going to get you across that finish line. But that takes time, it slows you down. If it's dark outside, that makes it more challenging and so, yeah, and then it's just one of those things that you're always kind of trying to anticipate what could potentially go wrong and then trying to fix it before it happens.

Carissa Galloway:

Well, another thing I want to talk about is we're talking about things that go wrong. A lot of people with you know what goes wrong with me. I didn't hydrate properly, I didn't do proper nutrition, so what is your race plan like for hydration and nutrition when you're doing a marathon?

Brian Siemann:

So I you, as the nutritionist is probably gonna like eat what I say.

Carissa Galloway:

No, it's okay, no, I told John earlier he ate a great breakfast, so I'm in a very good mood today.

John Pelkey:

I had an acceptable breakfast today, so I won.

Carissa Galloway:

His breakfast was better than mine, so I'm in a good mood today. No, but I wanna know.

Brian Siemann:

I guess you're out there at less time.

Carissa Galloway:

So there's one thing. So I won't judge as much, cause you're pretty fast yeah.

Brian Siemann:

So I will. I tend to. I've gotten better too. I used to not eat before and I've worked on that and I've learned I need to properly fuel my body and it's important to train your body to do that. But I also can't eat a whole lot cause any wheelchair racer.

Brian Siemann:

You were very tight in our chairs and we're usually on our knees and on our stomach and so that, like it, just it feels really gross if you eat a lot of food.

Brian Siemann:

So I try to eat like a small bowl of cereal or maybe some fruit and yogurt, something that's light and not too heavy, and a cup of coffee Always coffee. That will always happen, no matter what. But during the race, the race itself, most chair athletes will put some kind of camelback or sort of a water bottle with a longer hose so that they can, they can hydrate, they'll put some type of electrolyte in that and then that's what they'll primarily use. It's really hard to use any kind of chew or like gummy or thing like that, cause obviously our hands are pushing the chair, and so I've known some people that have actually put like a dad, they've taken the like the gummies out of the packaging and they put a dab of like superglue and attached it to like their steering and they just kind of like put their head down and grab it up and chew it. I won't ever do that in my life, but I know people that have.

Carissa Galloway:

Should we eat superglue, a dab, I guess, does it like kill you. Apparently, I mean, they're still able to perform, but I guess I should know that I will look into whether or not.

John Pelkey:

I'm a 70s kid. I've eaten worse, god knows, probably. Go get back to that. All right, listen, brian. I know, hopefully we're gonna see you again this marathon weekend, but what is your schedule, your participation schedule moving forward? What events do you have on your calendar?

Brian Siemann:

So we just finished World Champion obviously, which is really nice. So I get the rest of the summer off. I'll still be getting ready, gearing up for the fall marathon season. So I'll have the Chicago and New York City marathons, and then we have obviously Disney World Marathon weekend again and I'm doing the Dumbo challenge in Disneyland. I waited in line for that so I was not going to miss the first set of run Disney races back at Disneyland. Even if it's not a vendor's theme, I don't care, I wasn't gonna be there, so I'll be doing that. So that's kind of up on the horizon. And then after that I'll do the spring marathon. So Boston and London, and then it's getting ready for the 2024 Paralympics.

Carissa Galloway:

Yeah, that's exciting. Do you have a favorite? You named a lot of big marathons. Do you have a favorite marathon? You don't need to say Disney, but do you have a? You know, boston, new York. Do you have a favorite?

John Pelkey:

Yeah, let's remove Disney. We're just gonna go with that, so take Disney out.

Carissa Galloway:

If we had Russell and the Avengers, then for sure we'd win.

Brian Siemann:

And for sure you would win All in one. That would be hard.

Carissa Galloway:

I don't know if those worlds could collide, but, like you know, in terms of the bigger marathons that you get to go to, do you have a favorite?

Brian Siemann:

I think I would have to say the New York City Marathon is my favorite and I think it's because one it's more of like my hometown marathon. It's closest to my home, but it also you leave that marathon feeling wrecked, and it could be it is. There's such a sense of satisfaction when you go through all five boroughs. You're climbing so many bridges, I think even on my best marathon days and my worst marathons there you know everything in between I always feel so accomplished at the end of it. And then I get to eat New York style pizza so I'm like win, win.

Carissa Galloway:

Yeah, you know, we John and I because John's just done did the New York Marathon. We actually we can't do it because it's the same weekend as wine and diet, and I think every like five years, maybe it's not so maybe it'll work out one of those days, but it's definitely on my bucket list, except the situation and we talked about it in our bucket with the start lines Like how do you get to the start? Do you have to ferry or do you get to bus? Like which? How do you get to the start? Oh, we got a bus.

Brian Siemann:

Can I come on your?

Carissa Galloway:

bus Because I logistic scare me, so the ferry I'm gonna go on Brian's bus.

John Pelkey:

Yeah, and that's I'll bring you Okay thank you, I would love to.

Carissa Galloway:

I'll super glue stuff to your. She has to super glue. My gummy bears it's fine.

John Pelkey:

I just want to see, logistically, how they put that thing on. It just still boggles the imagination, having spent a lot of time in Manhattan, how they put that on. Well, listen, brian, you're one of the most inspirational athletes that we ever had a chance to talk to. We have a lot of novice runners. Obviously, disney one of the we have the most first time runners of any race. Obviously, at times, during either a competition or even in training, you'll hit a wall. What do you use to motivate yourself to keep going? That could possibly help those folks who aren't as experienced in that situation.

Brian Siemann:

Yeah, I think that's a great question and it's really something that took me years to sort of learn and to kind of figure out. Because when I first started, I remember I always remember feeling frustrated if I wasn't getting the sort of results I wanted. And so I've learned that when races are not going my way especially the longer distance races, where you you're at mile nine and all of a sudden it's like things are just not working out the way you've had and you could have had the best training leading up to that, and then all of a sudden you're like race day happens and you're just not there. I think for me what I've learned is to sort of slow down a little bit and use kind of take a moment and sort of reassess what you have, what you can control at that time. So maybe it's I need to slow down, maybe I need to hydrate a little bit more and I need to, or I need to just, you know, walk for a couple of minutes just to kind of re-energize and kind of kind of get myself back on track. But first slow down and to reassess what can you control in that race and then try to put a plan into place.

Brian Siemann:

Okay, it might not be the goal I initially set out to do, but now I've done these things and this is what I'm going to try to do. I think the most important thing is to get to that finish line, no matter how you can do it. And then once you cross that finish line, you have accomplished that goal, you've made it to the finish line. That's more important than I think anytime or anything else. And when you finish, then you can look back and see maybe the word or other. You can then have that larger kind of conversation with yourself or your coach and say what could I do different, maybe for the next time? But you can't have that conversation until you get to that finish line, and I think taking the moments during the race to pause and say, okay, let me get these factors back in my control and then go from there is the most important thing you can do.

Carissa Galloway:

I love that. Very practical, very well thought out. I feel like you're a very even killed human. That's what I'm getting from this. You're a very rational thinking person.

Brian Siemann:

Yeah, I am sort of the peacekeeper amongst my sisters and I.

Carissa Galloway:

I'm the level headed one. I can only imagine with three sisters. I can only imagine. One of the last questions for you is races are inspiring, but they're inspiring because of the people who finish them, much like yourselves, what people overcome, what they can achieve. So what's one of the most inspiring things that you have seen at a race?

Brian Siemann:

Okay. So for me it's going to be kind of an overly generalized answer, but it's something that I love doing and I only get to do it at run Disney events is. So, like I said, when I first did my first run Disney event back in 2014, I got to cheer for the first time and it was truly something that I'd never done in any of my other professional races up to that point. And just standing somewhere on the right by the finish and watching people come through, it was something I loved. I loved just yelling and just trying to motivate them. And so now I make it a point that at the end of the marathon, I will go somewhere in the world showcase and sit and just cheer.

Brian Siemann:

And you get to see I see thousands of people run by me and I don't know them, I don't know their story, I don't know what they have done to get to that point, but they are so close to that finish line and you see it in their eyes, you see it in their determination, you see it in people who are struggling to get to that finish line, but they're gonna get there and you and to me, that is the most inspiring thing to see. That, again, I don't know what, what, what has happened to get them to that point in in the race, but they, they overcame it. They did the work that they needed to do and now they're gonna cross that finish line. A marathon or a half marathon or 10K or five care, no matter the distance they're getting to that finish line. And that, to me, is that's the first step to to then getting to your next goal and to having the best life you possibly can.

John Pelkey:

Great answer Three time Paralympian, six time Dopey Challenge winner, which I still I'm gonna have to go to the paperwork on that. That seems, that seems like a lot, brian. Brian, if people want to follow you anywhere on social media and find out what your season holds and a little more about you, where do they do that?

Brian Siemann:

You could probably find most active on Instagram. It's at the seaman. I am not a prolific social media user. I mostly post pictures of my dogs, but we're good with that.

John Pelkey:

We're really good with that. You could probably find me.

Brian Siemann:

That's probably the best place. I have Twitter as well, but I don't really use it as much, and I am on Facebook, but I don't think the cool kids are using Facebook. How's the rest going for you?

Carissa Galloway:

Are you on threads, have we? I have a thread.

Brian Siemann:

I made that thing, but I don't even know how to use it. I don't even know how to use it.

Speaker 4:

That's all of us. It's everyone's answer, everyone's answer for that.

Brian Siemann:

Yeah, it's there. I don't have any threads threaded or whatever it's called my knitting.

Carissa Galloway:

What am I doing here? Am I making a friendship bracelet? I don't know. Brian, this was an honor to have you on. Congratulations on your world medals. Keep plugging away and we look forward to cheering you on in January as you go for your seventh Dopey Challenge title.

Brian Siemann:

Awesome. Looking forward to it.

John Pelkey:

Thanks, Brian.

Brian Siemann:

All right athletes.

Carissa Galloway:

Here's the drill Time to shape up your diet. Harissa, give them the goods. That's right, Sarge. We're going to shape up our diet and we're going to do it with something that is generally free and doesn't have any calories. John, what am I talking about?

John Pelkey:

Hydration.

Carissa Galloway:

Well, yes, but if more specifically.

John Pelkey:

Water.

Carissa Galloway:

Good job. How has your? The question I wrote is John, how much water have you drank today? I drink, I drink Is the proper way to say it.

John Pelkey:

How much water have you drank?

Carissa Galloway:

I don't drink, drunk, drunk. You're the English major, I know, I know, so put your gator money where your mouth is.

John Pelkey:

How much water have you consumed today? I think would be the drink Drank. Drunk's a tough one on so many on so many levels, I don't know. I drink a lot of water every day, I'm. The thing they don't tell you when you're younger is how much more you have to hydrate when you get older. And as a 59 year old man, I drink a lot of water, so I have probably had I probably had close to a gallon of water today.

Carissa Galloway:

Oh, that's good.

John Pelkey:

Yeah.

Carissa Galloway:

You're doing really well on your nutrition, but somewhere there's a black hole. That's something you have to do a lot of things right.

John Pelkey:

Yeah, I don't. I don't exercise as much as I should.

Carissa Galloway:

Yeah.

John Pelkey:

That's. That's that's starting to change. As you know, folks, if you live in central Florida and you have to do your own yard work, yeah because I don't, I don't, I don't. See you out there with the leaf blower too often to be.

Carissa Galloway:

No, so this is not what we're supposed to be talking about, but we were going to try. Our yard is not very large. Here where we live Right, it's that traditional new neighborhood, so we thought we could manage it. But did you? Did it look better when you came over today than the last time you were here.

John Pelkey:

Yeah, yeah, I was going to ask you who your service was. We tried.

Carissa Galloway:

I said I can, I can trim things, I like trimming things. I was like are you trimming? Are you trimming the things? I was like yeah.

John Pelkey:

Just the act of the grass cutting in July and August. My wife, my lovely wife Jody, used to, for my birthday, which is the second of July, used to get me for July and August a yard service for the summer. But since I don't work as much now, I don't get that any longer.

Carissa Galloway:

We had a plug-in. We have a plug-in lawnmower. Is that what you have?

John Pelkey:

No, I have a. I have a gas lawnmower.

Carissa Galloway:

You know where's this sweet talking about hydration? I'm sorry. I'm sorry folks.

John Pelkey:

So here's your grass in July and August in Florida hydrate.

Carissa Galloway:

Yeah, but here's the point that I want to talk about. I want to talk about water. It has a lot of roles in the body. So, yes, we say hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. But it's like why Water is essential for various bodily functions digestion, absorption of nutrients, circulation and a lot for temperature regulation, which is one of the reasons why dehydration is so bad in athletic events. It also transports nutrients, so water facilitates the transportation of nutrients and oxygen to the cell and the removal of waste products, and it does maintain that electrolyte balance. So dehydration, over hydration, can affect the nerve and muscle function. So we don't want you to be dehydrated. But that's not what I'm talking about today. Today we're talking about hydration, but consistency in hydration. You can't drink your gallon of water at one time and expect to be hydrated and your body properly function all day. You actually have to make sure that you are consciously hydrated throughout the day, and some of us don't do that very well. Here in my home, I've offered you beverages of sparkling varieties, of still varieties, so you're hydrating, but it's important to hydrate throughout the day and also prevent that overconsumption, because that can also affect your blood level. So some tips for people who aren't good at staying hydrated.

Carissa Galloway:

Use technology. There are apps that will beep at you, that will alert you to when it's time to drink, bringing water bottles with you. I'm kind of anti-bottle for the most part. I'd rather you use one of those reusable water containers. But use that, take it with you everywhere. I joked with Wes and the other day we were at Disney and I used a water fountain. I was like when is the last we don't use water fountains? When I was a kid it's like a pay phone Do they exist?

Carissa Galloway:

You always use water fountains, but now you never leave the house without a water bottle. But as a kid you just left the home without hydration and you were fine.

John Pelkey:

Oh, absolutely, you never took water with you. There was a water fountain there.

Carissa Galloway:

I think somebody in my school said the water was from when the dinosaurs roamed.

John Pelkey:

Right. 7,000 people would put their lips on it all day, so it seems perfectly like a good thing to do.

Carissa Galloway:

So you would think it would be easier for us to hydrate now because we carry our water bottles everywhere. So keep doing that and then if you don't like water and you'll find it boring. The sparkling waters are good, they do. They find up the taste more.

Speaker 4:

You know what I'm going to tell you. I don't need to be entertained all the time, but water, water just bores me. I got to be honest. It really has. I'm bored by water, standing water, moving water. I'm okay when I'm at the seaside and there's waves, but just still standing water. There's not much going on.

Carissa Galloway:

So folks don't be bored by water. Take your time.

John Pelkey:

Now can I ask you an honest question about that?

Carissa Galloway:

I don't know if I can come back from that. Fair enough, go ahead.

John Pelkey:

I always read that it's really, really good to do. The good thing to do is the first thing you do when you get up. I'm having difficulty just like putting this sentence together at this point. I always drink water. That's the first thing I do in the morning. I have a big glass of water while I'm waiting for my coffee. Is that something you know? Again, I do spread my hydration out through the day. I drink a lot of water throughout the day, but have you heard that as well as a nutritionist, that having a glass of water when you get up really, really kind of restart your restart?

Carissa Galloway:

your Rehydration, because you haven't typically been drinking overnight.

John Pelkey:

And you do dehydrate when you sleep at night Correct and all of us also sweat.

Carissa Galloway:

We're breathing with our mouths or making all this kind of noise.

Speaker 4:

Yes, that's a great idea. I do make a lot of noise.

Carissa Galloway:

The interesting thing though that maybe you find is, I find when you have that extra hydration and you haven't had any food in your stomach, you have to go to the bathroom a lot quicker. So when you're on an airplane, be wary of that tactic, because I always find that first morning flight of the day I have to go to the bathroom. Yeah, but that's a great idea, john. So the hydration in the morning I support it.

John Pelkey:

And as somebody who probably, you know, does not exercise enough but tries to watch what I eat, it also has an appetite suppressant. If you feel my doctor told me this a long time ago if you're starting to feel a little peckish or a little hungry, drink some water first. That will. It acts as an appetite suppressant and sometimes hunger is really telling you that you're dehydrated, and often I've heard this as well let's look at me, knowing a lot about hydration that often when people are having like a slight headache and they take aspirin and they have it with some water, it's actually the water that's doing more good than the aspirin at leaving the headache.

Carissa Galloway:

Yeah, I mean, we need water and we need it not just once, we need to continually drink it throughout the day. You can get hydration from foods with higher water content. Other things as well contribute, but really water is, you know, the gold standard. If you will so keep hydrating, keep learning. I'm sorry if water is offended by me calling it boring, it's not a fireworks show.

Speaker 4:

It's all I'm saying. Water is not a fireworks show.

Carissa Galloway:

Just water. But if you want to learn more about water, keep it exciting. Health Through you is my online nutrition course. I'm a dietitian in real life. It's a 12-week course designed to give you nutrition education, motivation, meal plans, videos. It's 12 weeks of modules, then a year to go back, revisit them. Ask me questions in our monthly chat, access everything and then you'll join an exclusive Galloway Training Hub group where you can chat with other Health Through you participants. So if you want to join and get a little special, you can use the code podcast and save $150. Athletes listen up.

Speaker 4:

It's mail call time. Announce a free present.

John Pelkey:

Thank you, sarge. All right, this question in our mail bag comes from Matt. Matt wants to know if we've ever been surprised at the finish line of a race that someone was running the race we didn't know about. Be it someone? I guess that's be it someone that we just know personally, someone famous, and I have a number of them. How about you, carissa?

Carissa Galloway:

I have two, so who's it's to go first?

John Pelkey:

Well, I'll let you go first. I'll let you go first. What?

Carissa Galloway:

if mine is yours and then I take it from you. Do you want to take that risk?

John Pelkey:

Yeah, I'll take it, is it?

Carissa Galloway:

a competition. No, I just don't want to take yours, and maybe your story is better than mine. So I remember one year. I have one Disney story, one non Disney story. But I remember one year at Disney Marathon Weekend we have our VIP tent where the people that run that would be your celebrities, your VIPs, are like, oh sure, back into that tent. It's also where you and I can go take a little break and get some warm food. So I go in there one year Sticky Barber, was that yours?

Speaker 4:

No.

Carissa Galloway:

No, I'm like how did no one how he finished? Yep, I had no idea. I don't think any of us noticed Nope, and I was angry because we would have brought him on stage, we would have still, but I was very happy for him. He was very tired, but it was kind of like a wait. You're Tiki Barber, how are you in here? And I didn't know and I'm a huge UVA fan.

John Pelkey:

My best friend played football at the University of Virginia, so I would have loved to have seen Tiki Barber. That would have been great. I interviewed him for ESPN, the ESPN club, on a number of occasions and I do remember that mine is not the same, which is good, and you were apparently going to be very upset if it was and it wasn't actually someone running, but it's on the same level. I used to do a podcast with Joe Oliver, who was a World Series champion with the Cincinnati Reds in 1990, the famous Reds team in 90.

John Pelkey:

And he did a podcast with us out at the ESPN club and I walked into the VIP tent and there was Joe Oliver with his daughter who had run the race, and the funny thing was I was like, and Joe was in like sweats or something, and I was like Joe, did you run? And he just looked at me like I'd asked him if he'd gone to Mars, and he's like I'm a baseball player. No, my daughter ran, though, so that was my surprise, but I do remember seeing Tiki as well. So we have famous athletes running our race all the time.

Carissa Galloway:

We don't know. So other stories that I did Rock and Roll Nashville earlier this year and as an announcer, we are at some point supposed to read the names off the mat. Now sometimes that's impossible because there's too many people coming across. But you're reading the names and da da, da. So I say Brian Malarkey. Do you know who that is? I don't. So you will when I say it, but I did know it. It's somebody of note, brian Malarkey from Top Chef.

Carissa Galloway:

He owns two restaurants or multiple restaurants in San Diego that I've gone to and he looked over and he was very pleased, like, and I felt good about that because he hadn't said like I'm running, please say my name. I just happened to know who he was. Give him a little shout out, because his restaurants are delicious in San Antonio, san Diego. We went to both of his restaurants. I can't think of the name of them. Can you remember the name? Anime is the Asian fusion one and there was another one, figgin' something. Anyway, absolutely delicious. Funny guy on Top Chef. But yeah, ryan and the Nashville Marathon.

John Pelkey:

The most surprised I ever was was I work at the horror makeup show at Universal from time to time and I had worked with this. My friend, mine, lauren, and I had worked with her. I think it was probably five or six days before the marathon weekend and I talked about she's like, well, what's coming up and I'm telling her about you know, well, I've got to get my sleep together. It's the hell week where you have to prepare and fun and everything, but you have to be mentally ready for it. And she was like, oh, great, great, we did our shows. So, marathon weekend, she says alo to me at the 5K, she says alo to me at the 10K, she says alo to me at the half and the full, she's doing the Doby Challenge. And she never said anything to me when I was talking about it.

Carissa Galloway:

She was just ready for the conversation to be over. I think she was.

John Pelkey:

That's what it teaches me. So there you go.

Carissa Galloway:

Well, if you're coming out, don't surprise us, especially if you're a celebrity and you're listening to 321. Go let us know and then come on the podcast. I mean Brian Malarkey, tiki Barber.

Speaker 4:

Joe.

Carissa Galloway:

Oliver, lauren if that's your real name. All right guys, that was fun. Great to chat with Brian. Send us your questions, your stories. We'd love to share them. 321. Go podcastcom and get out there, get moving and have a good one.

Speaker 4:

Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye. Thank you guys so much. We appreciate it Sooo. Thanks so much, and you are welcome to join the podcast. Hey, before we go, keep apa cha om semspeaking like I do now. 에에 Oi, this is video Ellie. Hello everyone, this is allGazcha 2016 gazi, which had been published early last year with

Podcast Conversation
Ship Performance and Singing Experience
Muppets and Para Athletics Achievements
From Quadruplet to Paralympian
Paralympic Experiences and Run Disney Races
Dealing With Adaptive and Chair Athletes
Marathon Nutrition and Hydration Plans
Hydration and Cheering Others
Hydration and Surprising Finish Line