321 GO!

Bonus with DW: Transformative Power of Acceptance and a Wine and Dine Follow Up

December 09, 2023 Carissa Galloway and John Pelkey Season 1 Episode 26
321 GO!
Bonus with DW: Transformative Power of Acceptance and a Wine and Dine Follow Up
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What if we told you that a simple costume can help transform a person’s life?  Ok DW's costumes are not really simple but you get the point! That's what you're about to experience in our special bonus episode featuring our Costume Couture Champion, DW. His heartfelt journey has been a beacon of inspiration for many, and his overwhelmingly positive response from our listeners proves the power of sharing personal stories. From a young boy defying norms in a costume to a half marathon weekend filled with love and support, DW’s story unfolds the transformative power of acceptance and courage.

We're also bringing you all the fun, emotion, and community spirit of the recent Wine and Dine race at Disney World.  We relish the event's festive energy, brilliant costumes, and the significant rule changes that enhanced the experience. With standout costumes like Isabella and Dr. Milo Channing from Journey into Imagination, the event was a colorful pageant of creativity and Disney love. Wrapping up the episode, we discuss the impact of sharing even a small part of someone's story and how the power of positivity can change lives. Buckle up, this journey promises to be an emotional roller coaster, filled with laughter, tears, and plenty of Disney magic!

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Speaker 1:

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

Speaker 2:

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

Speaker 1:

Karissa, we're jumping in for a bonus episode. That just had to happen. We need, you need, I need, we all need more DW.

Speaker 2:

We sure do more choo-choo's, more crowns, more tiaras. The podcast with Costume Couture Champion DW had such a huge response that we want to hear more about how it changed DW's wine and dine half marathon weekend. So we've back. He's back for a bonus episode and I'm not going to lie, I really hope he makes us cry again. Let's do this.

Speaker 1:

DW, welcome back. Your episode had such a great response. We'll get into that and how people interacted with you, but how are you now? What's been going on since wine and dine?

Speaker 3:

Hi, it is always a gift to be able to talk to the two of you. I have just been on Cloud 9 since wine and dine it. I absolutely agree with you. The response to the original podcast was something I don't think any of us anticipated. I have just been so proud of what that episode has been able to accomplish.

Speaker 2:

Well, that was why I wanted to have you back, because you know we wanted to hear more about it. And you and I have this weird magic of finding each other at the finish line and you finish this time and I'm on the side. I'm yelling in my microphone DW, I'm right here, like clearly the microphone is is omnipresent. So that was not helpful at all. But I saw you there and I also saw you on the race course of the 10K and both times you said to me so many people had been stomping and telling you stories of their own and connecting with what you shared in the podcast and we didn't even know that. You know, we kind of played out the episodes. You didn't know it was dropping the day the expo opened. We really didn't know until a couple of days before. So when did you start to get feedback about the episode?

Speaker 3:

So the magic actually started. A couple of days before the actual episode even aired, there was a mom on social media who posted a story about her four and a half year son. Four and a half year old son, him and his two sisters went to animal kingdom dressed as the three magical sisters. He was Louisa, because Louisa is strong and brave and caring and that's where he wants to be as an adult. While waiting in line, a six year old girl came up and whispered something in his ear. Mom didn't hear it, but she saw the son's reaction. The son stepped away. The little girl stepped up to him again, whispered something in his ear and he came running back to mom with tears in his eyes because he was told little boys don't wear dresses. And mom actually used pictures from run Disney to show him that he did nothing wrong, that this was right and that if he wanted to be Louisa he could be Louisa. So, knowing what we had discussed, even though it hadn't aired yet, I knew something magical was going to happen.

Speaker 3:

The first indication that the podcast had hit and had resonated actually came at the expo I flew in Thursday morning. People were listening to it while I was on a plane. We check in, we get our traditional mimosa, I pick up my bed and I'm walking to the second building where you get your t-shirt, my traditional hug from Chris Twigs, all the usual pre-race rituals. We're in line, heading downstairs and there are two cast members who start matching pace with me Now. Civilian clothes, name tags clearly management. They're clearly walking with me and then all of a sudden I hear hi, friend, and my brain is wrecked.

Speaker 3:

I had been on property 10 minutes. What could I have possibly done wrong? Already they were two cast members from entertainment who had heard the podcast that morning and wanted to let me know that ooh, I'm going to start crying early, that the entertainment cast was cheering for me and that they would be there and they would be rooting me on. That was sort of the start of it. From there, at the expo, chris Twigs comes up and hugs me Tradition, but this was different. Weston found me at the expo and came up and said something that was sort of the beginning of we did something. This was special.

Speaker 2:

You did something, we didn't do anything. It's just like you said, run, disney gave you a place and now we've kind of found a way to amplify that, and I love the way they just said we're cheering for you. And you could read so much into what they said. You knew exactly and I knew that's why it made me tear up what they meant.

Speaker 3:

I love the Run Disney cast. It was the first time that they sort of broke that fourth wall and said, hey, we know who you are, we're here for you and I know they're there for every athlete. But that, that moment was mine and it. It will forever live with me. I Mean.

Speaker 1:

I think we all expected that it would resonate with people, because your story is just such an uplifting story and I think, no matter where you come from, you can. We can all feel at times Alienated and looking for our tribe and all that sort of thing. But it was just. It really was remarkable when we started hearing but we heard more about your episode than just the podcast in general. Really, what I want to know is out on the course, when you're out there, what was? How many people were you know, running by and speaking to you? What was that experience like?

Speaker 3:

So it started at the 5k. I think what the podcast did was open a door where people felt comfortable coming up and saying hi. And so before we even ran the first race, someone came up and introduced me to their six-year-old daughter. She had trained for her very first 5k Because she wanted to come see the guy who ran in the process, so that had to happen before the podcast that was in process a long time ago.

Speaker 3:

For the podcast, but I think what the podcast did was give that parent permission To come up and introduce her daughter to me. That it wasn't oh, that's that guy, oh, he's whatever. It was okay now. They knew me, they knew my story. There was a relatability. I heard From a couple people hey, this is my kid, they really wanted to meet you.

Speaker 3:

The real magic, though, I think, took place during the half marathon. I I had a plan I was gonna PR. I had a little too much fun during the 5k and 10k Family-friendly fun. We stayed up for Tron and fireworks. So it became very clear that I wasn't gonna PR that thing, so I switched to plan B, which was a strong finish. By the end of the first mile, I had people coming up to me sharing their running stories or they're coming out stories, or how their mom, knowing of me at run, disney made it okay for them. When they introduced their same-sex fiance for the first time. And, chris, and when you saw me at the finish line, I was literally overwhelmed. I was. I was trying to understand how to process all these emotions, because that was my journey that day. It it was beautiful. I.

Speaker 2:

Mean do you? You know, when you think back to all these stories and sharing You're obviously, are you? You're proud of yourself, right? You're proud of that platform that you've given people.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely. I think the biggest gift that I got, though, was I. I always thought my story was an abnormality. Right, there was shame associated with my story Because it wasn't normal, it wasn't typical.

Speaker 3:

Yes, the details are mine and how it played out is very unique to me, but the overarching themes of having to forge a different path to eventually find your love of this sport and your love of run. Disney resonated with people. And it sounds funny, but on a course with 14,000 other people you can get really lonely. What this episode and the response to it did was reassure me that I'm not alone, and when you feel a part of something greater, you naturally want to make other people feel welcome and included as well, and that's what happened.

Speaker 2:

And I got to see you out there. I saw you on the 10k course and I saw you I think it was in the narrow sidewalk when you're heading from Hollywood Studios. John, you'll see this when you do the 10k, so I'd never been there at that point in the race. Usually I start with A and I run about, let's say, a one hour 10k. And you said the funniest thing to me when we went and listened to our episode last week when I went on a longer run.

Speaker 2:

You said you were talking about the hoop skirt and how you made the hoop skirt to keep people away from you. And you've worked through that and we've just ripped the hoop skirt away from you. But you said to me, like well, yeah, it's much more comfortable, you can get closer to me, because that last time I was here people were mad at me or something about your hoop skirt. So now I just associate that image with you. But what was it like out there on the course of people coming up to you? Were you still focused on your race? Were you still singing out loud, or were you just kind of overwhelmed or washed with emotions?

Speaker 3:

So I have about a three and a half hour playlist that is typically my half marathon. It's how I do intervals. I walk to the bridge, I run to the chorus that's where the singing comes in Wine and Dine half marathon. I listened to less than seven and a half minutes of that playlist because it was these conversations, and some of them were people coming up and telling me their running journey or their story. Others were people just coming up and feeling comfortable talking to me. I met this amazing couple. The husband works at Coronado Springs Resort, which is my favorite of the Disney properties. He was telling me about little architectural details that most people wouldn't know.

Speaker 3:

So it wasn't even that. It was every conversation this deep, emotional, revealing. It was like a family reunion and that's what made it special.

Speaker 2:

It seems very special. And you said family. You had a little bit of a family moment. The 5K included some family that I still have not actually laid eyes on.

Speaker 3:

Yes, so Brandon Knight wasn't the only person who lost somebody at season one.

Speaker 2:

Oh, my gosh yes.

Speaker 1:

The sociopath story lives on.

Speaker 3:

Oh, I know him. I was literally 10 feet from Kelly, his fiance, when all of this was going on. I could physically see her. She's a guide for Kayla and I'm staring at both of them while this conversation is going on going. Is that really her? Is she lost at the ocean?

Speaker 2:

Because what did you hear when he was like we went on a cruise, my fiance is lost at sea.

Speaker 3:

Right, I heard it.

Speaker 2:

Yep.

Speaker 3:

Ironically, the same thing happened to me. My husband and I were both in Peralse. We get put into the shoot. We're walking towards the starting line. I all of a sudden become a three year old and just start walking to the starting line as fast as I can, left everyone behind and then they put the tape up to separate the waves and so I got separated from him. Riley asked to speak to me and I'm like that's really nice and I would love to, but can you help me find my husband? And so all of a sudden the whole crowd starts going, kevin, kevin. And finally you see this little hand just poke up about 25 feet back and I'm like OK, meet me at the good bathrooms in Germany, because I'm going Like the energy level is too high.

Speaker 1:

That's so great. Riley's going to ask for a bump now because he's like finding lost people. He's going to be like that wasn't in my contract.

Speaker 2:

This woman's not in the sea. Kevin's right back there. We're happy to help.

Speaker 1:

All right On the course itself over the weekend. Do you have any things that you anything new that you saw? That was your favorite, anything you really, really remember either you know from the entertainment that our folks put out on the course or people in costumes what were your biggest, fun, favorite memories?

Speaker 3:

I know this is a controversial take. I loved the new courses. I thought they were phenomenal. They load the street portion with characters and we saw some phenomenal characters Darlord Clarabel things you don't see just walking around the park every day.

Speaker 3:

Mark said he wanted something every third of a mile and it was there, like I was looking for it. I was looking for an opportunity to say you broke your promise, but it never happened. I also think and I may be wrong somebody who looks at the official numbers can tell me it was a bigger crowd for wine and dine this year, and so there was just an energy that was flowing through everyone that just lifted everything and I think John and Riley and I yeah, go ahead, john.

Speaker 2:

Yep the good weather.

Speaker 1:

The good weather really really helped us. Amazing that, chris. So we talked about that all weekend. Is that really really helped?

Speaker 2:

It did. It just made people help the finish. You didn't get that. As we say, it can be 8 am and the humidity just rises. So I think that kind of lifted the spirits. We never asked who's on the course. They would tell us we, just we don't. And so when I saw the Star-Lord pictures at Gamora I was like oh that's amazing, because I don't think they've I don't know if they've been out before on the course.

Speaker 3:

I don't think I've ever seen them right. Marvel in Orlando is sort of this hush-hush, dirty little secret. We don't talk about it. And then there they were, front and center. We actually ran towards them. I would have gasped, I would have been like, oh, I did it.

Speaker 2:

Like are you real, chris Pratt? That's what I would have put in my head. You know like I'm obsessed with all the Chrissas. Avengers has the best Chrissas. Hemsworth, pratt, what's? What's Captain America's name? Evans, right? Like, oh, I'm obsessed with them. I think Western's upstairs and he can't hear me All right, so I want to know you. The wardrobe how was the feedback on the wardrobe?

Speaker 3:

I think it was the biggest non-issue of wine and dye.

Speaker 2:

I meant yours personal. But yes, I mean. But that's good.

Speaker 3:

There was all this controversy with the new rules and the clarifications going into race day, and so, yes, I made some modifications because I was not going to be the problem. I did that before, wasn't going to do it again, and at least the feedback that I got was very positive. Nobody noticed a difference. I loved what I wore. There was someone who came up to me during the half expecting to see me in floor length gown and hoop skirt, but I've never worn that for a half because those costumes weigh 15, 20 pounds, which is fine for a 5K by mile 10, I would have been dead on the side of the road. But knowing that it's not an issue, I'm excited for the rest of the season.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I don't think we got a lot with any negative feedback.

Speaker 1:

You know, ahead of the time people seemed like and again, I think a lot of it was following rules that had been put into place that really hadn't been adhered to. But again, for anybody who's listening, who's like, well, I'm still unhappy. These are all for safety issues, folks, safety issues. And also you brought up Marc Ferrera. We should shout out that he just recently became a grandfather. Marc's son and his son's wife just had a baby, so now he's a grandpa. I only say that so that now my jokes about how old he is will land better with people and realize that I'm not lying about it, I am telling the truth. Speaking of that, just following up on that, did you see anyone else in a costume that you went ooh, ooh, because I know that we were not great on the mashup sometimes. And then somebody points them out to us and it's like, oh, I'm not going to wear that. Somebody points them out to us and it's like, wow, you put some work into that one. Was there anyone that stood out to you?

Speaker 3:

Oh, there were several. The different variations of the Queen of Hearts, rose bushes. I mean there were people who thought glued roses to every inch of themselves. They were stunning. Some of the bedazzled Kristen running in makeup and I think that was a bejeweled white rabbit that we could put that costume in, neiman Marcus and it would sell by the dozens. It was gorgeous.

Speaker 2:

I see where you're going. We talked about this in the other episode. You said you love fashion, you're looking for construction and you're looking for, like how can I see where your eyes go? And John and I are like, ooh, shiny things. But you're like it was well constructed. I'm going to show you what I like about this. It's like I love it. It's like an effort that I'm going to show you. It's like a time and effort that went into it. I personally, thinking back, I liked you know all I I. It was comfortable. I like when people are themed to the race, it makes it feel more like a family unit. But Mike Berceli I don't know if you saw him, I'm going to show you. He went as Isabella, which which I was too. He had the wig on Where's my camera? He looked so good in the wig, like he's a very muscular guy, but he looks so good in the wig I couldn't get over how natural it looked on him.

Speaker 3:

And I liked that there were some gorgeous Isabella's across the board. I will also say so not to shout out Brandon Knight again, because we don't want Izzy to get too big.

Speaker 2:

Well, he's a sociopath, according to Riley. And for those listening who have no context. We are joking. This is a joke.

Speaker 1:

And Brandon has embraced it. He's embraced it.

Speaker 3:

Yes, he is in on the joke at this point. He was running as Dr Milo Channing from Journey into Imagination. Your other favorite, matthew Matthew does dis was running as Figment, and for when I caught up to them the two of them were running together and so it was like my own little version of the ride. So it was perfect.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, for I was not sure which part of Figment he was and thank you for letting me know he was Nigel, because I couldn't connect that and I don't care for Nigel in the ride at all, my son does it my daughter does it. Why do you gotta be so negative to Figment? He doesn't. You know, don't be a Nigel, but Brandon was, he got lots of unpack there.

Speaker 3:

We're hoping, with the comeback of Figment and the reimagining we get the old ride back.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that would be great. John's never been on the new one, so it all seems similar to him. But so we are getting very close right, John, to the big show, the Big Dance.

Speaker 1:

Dopey weekend Again. Share with people your motivation for those long runs and I also wanna ask you a question about when you're doing dopey. So many people have told me and I asked Kayla about this, actually when we interviewed her that the half marathon is really the biggest challenge Because by marathon day at the start you're here, this is it, here's the Super Bowl, for lack of a better term but that half marathon you're running further than you've run the first two days. That is, 13.1 miles is nothing to you have to be prepared for that. So what is your motivation and do you feel the same way that the challenge for you is that half marathon during dopey?

Speaker 3:

Absolutely. I will actually say because of why I'm not dying this year and the way that it played out, the nervous energy has gone away. I know that I am on that course. I know that I have a support system on both sides of the gates. I can go and not have to prove anything to anybody because I am already dopey. I don't have to fight for tolerance because I'm not gonna be able to do anything, Because I know that I am accepted. I am gonna hit that course. I'm gonna put my left foot in front of my right foot and I'm gonna finish strong.

Speaker 3:

I've never gone into a weekend, particularly the big dance, with that level of emotional comfort. To answer your question about the half marathon, I do believe it's the biggest challenge, for a slightly different reason, though. By the time you get to the half in January, we have been running 24 miles, 26. Mentally, you are in a place where the half marathon is a short run. It's a piece of cake. The energy's going. You know you can crush it and everything in your body tells you to go all out and just expend every bit of energy you have, because on a normal weekend this is it, this is the grand finale. You actually have to hold back a little bit. You have to consciously choose to PR in fun versus PR in time. We'll explain that to Tracy Wood later, so that when you get to the starting line on Sunday and you have to run 26 miles, there's still gas in the tank. That's the hardest part of that half marathon.

Speaker 2:

I never, you know, doing this podcast, john. I think we always thought Dopey was hard, but we're learning more of the complexities that go into it to make it such a challenge. And oh, by the way, you're doing all these long races and NDW. I did, at the finish line, try to talk to Tracy again about what that meant, because someone had given me a friendship bracelet that said PR in fun. I think she got it. I think she was hearing something different, but I hope she understood the concept because it's good to PR in fun. That's something that you can do.

Speaker 2:

We may have first timers listening to this. So people who maybe they don't know you from Run Disney, they haven't been to a Run Disney race, but they're getting ready for Dopey, they've found the podcast and they maybe they have the doubts. I know last year you didn't wear a costume, you wore your running gear because you woke up with the doubts. For anybody who's listening first timer or not first timer who is wondering and having that negative monkey brain come in and say I'm never gonna be able to do this, how do we have the courage to go to the distance when we doubt ourselves?

Speaker 3:

I think the most important thing to remember is that you are not out there all alone, that we mistakenly identify running and long distance running as an individual sport. You have 10,000, 11,000 people who want to see you succeed. There is a reason that the people who run in Corral A finish and then go stand on boardwalk or go stand at the finish line and cheer you on there is a crew of cast and volunteers who are going to do whatever they can to cheer you on as well. If you need something on that course whether it's water, bio freeze, body glide, emotional support, right An Atta Boy Just reach out and ask for it, because there is going to be somebody there to give it to you. It's the best part of Run Disney. It's when I try and explain the difference between my local half marathon and wine and dine half marathon. These races are coordinated within an inch of their life. The second you think you need somebody or something, it's there. You just have to be willing to accept it.

Speaker 2:

I really appreciate that.

Speaker 1:

It gives us an opportunity to thank all of our volunteers as well, all the folks from AdVanHealth, everybody who helps put it on. It is a massive undertaking and it's so great someone like yourself, a veteran, to recognize that and to let people know, because we always say we want to get you to the finish line in your PR. We really want to get you safe, to the finish line and PRing and fun along the way. Hopefully in January the weather will cooperate as it did at Wine and Dine, dw. Thank you so much. If you want to follow DW on Instagram and why wouldn't you it is at I period, am period, not period, a period Princess.

Speaker 1:

You can find out all about his incredibly interesting life, how great it is to be a Virginian three Virginians on this podcast right now Two Northern Virginians and Carissa from somewhere down there in the weeds, I don't know. But thank you so much, dw, it's so great. Thanks for spending some extra time with us and we'll be checking back in around Marathon weekend as well and look forward to that. But thank you for everything that you do for the running community, because you've been a great inspiration.

Speaker 3:

Thank you friends, I appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

And thank you for wearing a crown.

Speaker 3:

I cannot show up without one.

Speaker 2:

You should see me in a crown. There you go.

Speaker 1:

Thank you once again, DW.

Speaker 2:

We are so happy to have you as part of the community and on 321 go.

Speaker 1:

Thanks friends, Thank you All right.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, buddy. Thanks for doing a little quick check in and I know the scheduling was a little crazy, but thank you.

Speaker 1:

I'm glad you enjoyed the course. I really am glad you enjoyed the courses.

Speaker 3:

I, you know, I think we all went into the weekend going. New leadership, new vision, changes are coming. Change is hard to accept sometimes, but now that it's we're on the other side of it. I think it's. This weekend was my 45th, 46th and 47th race. Oh, other than that original 5k at Disneyland, I think this was my favorite race weekend. We love it.

Speaker 1:

Awesome.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, good.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think 321 Go the podcast is a small part of that reason, and certainly your episode. Come on, I'm trying to promote. You know me, I don't self promote, but your episode certainly did. Even Riley won't listen to it and I was convinced Riley would only listen to the episode that he was on and he said I teared up, it was great. This is, this is more of what we need. We need this positivity and this inspiration, because you still got to go the distance.

Speaker 3:

Yeah it's, it's still 13.1. But this was life changing this. This was very cool, and I can't thank you guys enough for that.

Speaker 1:

Well, thank you once again.

Speaker 2:

Yes, seriously, I listened to it on Monday and I teared up again and I just was just like this is just exactly what John said what the world needs, and it's just such a genuine, true, heartfelt story that does is an over Right. It's just a chapter in the story and it's it's a life that you get to lead and a lot of people are. There's lives that are touched because of it. Thank you.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, friends. Three, two, one Go.

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