321 GO!

Kayla Allene Betz-Swope: On the Run with a runDisney VIP (Visually Impaired Person)

January 04, 2024 Carissa Galloway and John Pelkey Season 1 Episode 30
321 GO!
Kayla Allene Betz-Swope: On the Run with a runDisney VIP (Visually Impaired Person)
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Stepping into the shoes of a visually impaired marathoner adds a whole new depth to the concept of endurance. In our latest episode, we're honored to share the microphone with Kayla Allene Betz-Swope, or as she's fondly known on social media, @KaylaRunsDisney. Her story isn't just about the miles clocked or the medals hung; it's a testament to the indomitable human spirit. From the streets of the Chicago Marathon to the enchanting paths of Disney races, Kayla's journey intertwines the thrill of competition with a heartwarming narrative of overcoming the odds.

Amidst the personal triumphs and challenges that each athlete faces, our conversation traverses a variety of terrain. We revel in the nostalgia of a bowling alley upbringing, the determination it took to become a Disney runner, and the sheer resilience required to adjust to running with visual impairment. 

Capping off this episode, we delve into the significance of inclusivity in sports, celebrating the achievements of all athletes, particularly those with disabilities. Through the lens of marathon running, we uncover the impact of thoughtful accommodations and the importance of community support. Finally, we lend our voices to the incredible work of charities like Kelsey's Hope, while also sharing a sneak peek at our guest's runDisney plans, complete with unique costumes and the contagious excitement for upcoming races. Whether you're an avid runner, a Disney enthusiast, or someone who cherishes personal stories of resiliency, this conversation promises to leave you feeling uplifted and perhaps, planning your next big challenge.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to 3, 2, 1, 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:

Alright, today we have a Run Disney VIP, a very important person, but also, and most importantly for our podcast, a visually impaired person who's a veteran of 30 half and five marathons, as well as a number of multi race challenges Kayla Aline Bet Swope perhaps better and shorter known on Instagram as at Kayla runs Disney.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we're so excited that Kayla took the time to join us. She is a truly inspiring athlete and I'm glad we got to learn more about her. You're going to see that she truly has some secret talents which maybe aren't so secret to people who know her, but she's a very competitive athlete, mad bowling skills, and you've got to hear a little bit about her triumph at the Chicago Marathon and to me it was truly for lack of a better word eye opening to learn what it really takes for those athletes with disabilities to get to the start line and to get to the race. I don't think there's enough we can do to highlight how hard everybody works to complete this race and how much we should celebrate and see every single athlete out there. So, thank you to Kayla. We're also going to open the mailbag to find out about John and I's emotional stability, which I don't know emotional stability all the time.

Speaker 1:

Is this going to be a multi-part podcast then, because I haven't had to go on for a while, just for me.

Speaker 2:

Whoa, yeah, our emotional stability post race and we're going to talk about a free way to lose weight that most people won't do. Thank you guys for listening. The nicest thing you can do for us is subscribe, share. Thank you, we love you. Let's do this.

Speaker 1:

Three, two, one go. Okay, carissa, as we're taping this, it is New Year's Eve, so a big picture. How was your year? How was 2023 for you?

Speaker 2:

I think overall, when you step back and look at the picture, it was amazing. The reason why I haven't showered for this podcast is because I decided to make a reel on Instagram, because you're supposed to. If you don't make a yearly recap reel on Instagram, it didn't happen. John's shaking his head like what does that even mean?

Speaker 1:

I think I posted four times. I'm not sure I could just rerun the Kennedy assassination plan pretty much all the way.

Speaker 2:

So to your question I think it was a great year. I got to announce the Boston Marathon, for Christ's sake. I had a book come out right. Huge highlights, everyone was very healthy. But I think, if I dive into it personally, I did too much last year. I was so I mean you saw it just trying to schedule things and the stress. So my goal for next year is to really kind of how can I manage that better? Some of that is turning off emails and not feeling like I have to be so responsive every second, but just trying to compartmentalize better and make more time for family. That I'm not feeling like I need to be working. But I feel great about last year. It was a lot of fun, we got to travel and everybody's finishing the year healthy together. So really that's kind of what we really should strive for. What about you, john? What happened that you felt good about?

Speaker 1:

Wow, I'm going to start with the hard question, huh.

Speaker 2:

Good.

Speaker 1:

Let me see I did. I ran my first 5K. That was certainly a big deal for me. That was one of my three New Year's resolutions. The other two I did not achieve, but I got one out of three. That's okay. So I hit 333, which would put me on the All Star team, feel pretty good about the New Year's resolutions.

Speaker 1:

And, you know, still Gosh, I don't want to be negative about it, but still feeling the effects of COVID and there just hasn't been as much work so it's been a little more challenging. Financially we're fine my wife is really really good with that sort of thing but there hasn't been quite as much work. As you know, out of the sports complex, the SPN, Wide World of Sports, A lot of that's dried up so I miss doing that. Another positive spin is I've been doing a lot more of the corporate runs in the morning and I've been having a really really good time with that. That's my kind of crowd because usually they're hungover and unhappy and I work for a hungover, unhappy crowd. So that was very good. My health is pretty good. My relative state of fitness is not where it needs to be. Sadly had a bit of a couple of weeks setback recently, but I'm jumping back on that bike or treadmill again.

Speaker 2:

But not the elliptical, because you hate the elliptical. You're not jumping on the elliptical.

Speaker 1:

No, I don't know I'm pointing that's the devil's machine right there, the devil's machine.

Speaker 2:

People miss a lot of our gestures.

Speaker 1:

I know, eventually we're going to end up doing this on video probably, which then I'll have to. I actually did shower, so I'm a little.

Speaker 1:

I'm a step ahead of you on that, but yeah, so I mean, all in all, I feel like it was a pretty good year. I got to go to places I hadn't been before, finally got to go to Iowa, des Moines, had a fun event in Des Moines and did some cool stuff. But looking forward to this year ramping up a little bit more, maybe a little more work, and I want to read more books. I was really really bad at that this year because man YouTube's added a lot of really great documentaries on World War II and the Kennedy assassination. So I need to step away from that and I need to get back to my volumes of reading, which I fell off this year, and that was one of my Again my 43rd year as a New Year's resolution, that I'm going to read James Joyce's Ulysses, and once again I've fallen flat in that.

Speaker 2:

Well, we've talked about that. I think it was with Chris Twiggs we talked about why, it's fallen flat and we're just going to let that be okay, I'm going to try again.

Speaker 1:

It's another one. It's another one. Tomorrow morning I'm going to get up and I'm going to go damn it. This year I'm going to get through the book.

Speaker 2:

Okay, that's going to be your Instagram posts. Have Jody, take a picture of you with it and that's going to be your Instagram posts, even if you don't post it until we get to Dopey yeah.

Speaker 1:

I don't know how many of that works.

Speaker 2:

You sent it, I got you. Don't give me your login. I don't want that, but I'll help you post it. Even Cree learned in the trailer last year how to post.

Speaker 1:

Didn't he go live? He went awkward, I know.

Speaker 2:

He went live.

Speaker 1:

I've got a block from it. I don't know what it is. And then if people put a story up and I see it, I want to see it again. It's gone. I'm just confused. A lot of things just go away to the ether on Instagram. I'm not sure I'm of that age where I'm not sure whether I dreamed it or if it actually happened. That can be disturbing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that happens. So my next question for you is reflecting on the podcast. Did you have a favorite podcast episode that we did and you can't think of one about you?

Speaker 1:

That's tough actually, gosh. There were just so many.

Speaker 2:

There were like 25.

Speaker 1:

I know I know that's a lot for me to have to sift through. I will say I've enjoyed every chat we've had and they've all been very enlightening and learning different things about what people's struggles are and the way they overcome them, and everything has been great. But talking to Dean Karnassus was really interesting to me because, frankly, on its surface, the things he does make me question his sanity. I just have to be honest about that. And even you, as a marathoner, some of the things that he said he did shaking your head when we're talking about well, why would anyone drive themselves to do that?

Speaker 1:

And I found that very, very interesting because I am not necessarily that sort of A-type personality that's driven to. Sadly, I wish I was more driven to succeed in things. But to talk to him, that was very, very interesting for me and I enjoyed it. But I really liked all the talks we had with everyone, and even the ones that I was not involved in because I missed a couple. I really enjoyed listening to them. And yes, I do listen to the podcast, which I never thought I would because I hate to hear myself, but I do listen to the podcast and critique everything that I've done wrong. Enjoy your performance, but really, really like hearing from the folks, so I look forward to more great conversations this year.

Speaker 2:

So have you grown as a performer from listening to yourself? Well, I think sometimes you'll feel like I'm funny.

Speaker 1:

I hope there's never a year passes that I don't feel that I'm a little better performer than I was the year before. I remember having an interview with Terry Mulholland, who long time left handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. And, by the way, folks, if you had a kid this year and you're looking for a lot of money in the future because those baseball contracts are guaranteed, duct tape your kids right arm to their right side for about a decade and make them left handed, because left handed pitchers can play forever. But Terry said in his interview because he was in his 40s at the time, I think, when we were talking to him and said do you have any idea when you might want to give it up, when you want to? You know when you won't want to do it again?

Speaker 1:

And most guys athletes say you know, when I just don't feel like the physical thing, like I don't want to do the work, that's not game time work. You know I want to go and pitch the game but I don't want to do those days off the weightlifting. But what he said was when I think I've stopped learning anything, is it every year I learn something more, as physically, you know, you get slower and everything is you get older, but he said mentally I was learning more about the game. And so I think, as a performer the day, I think that I there's nothing left to learn. First of all, that would be foolish, because I've so much left to learn, and secondly, I think that's when I'm just not going to be good, not going to be committed enough to keep doing it. So that's a long answer and you can probably hear all the dogs barking because somebody's walking dogs in front of my house. So my dogs are going insane.

Speaker 2:

So I apologize for that. That's actually the first time that I've that. I've heard a bark, so that's you've said that before, but that's the first time actually heard a bark. I think my favorites, I think DW was a top one just because the way he told stories, what he you know life is all about, when you can feel something and what he could share. And he felt that, especially story about Disneyland, being there, having known how the story they intended the story of that 5k to go and for him to identify with it was powerful. And then Tim O'Donnell coming back from that heart attack, there was something about what he said that just stuck with me and his story really resonated and it was like a tough story but it had a good ending and I think he just he illustrated it so well and I really, I really enjoyed that.

Speaker 2:

Now I don't want to chat too long, but, john, I need. I need to call on you. So it's time for your second history minute. I forgot it in last week's chat so I apologize to everyone out there, but this Dorothy from Georgia, wonderful runner, runs for the leukemia and lymphoma society out there on columns drive. So she had given some suggestions, but you and I discussed earlier and her suggestions, which were Apollo 13, chernobyl, which I would be interested in well, or the Chilean minors you weren't ready for those yet, so I'm going to start my timer soon.

Speaker 2:

You can have your rebuttal, but then we're going to start at the timer.

Speaker 1:

Okay, well, no, yeah, and here's the thing about it. If I'm going to do a little history moment when I talked about the Kennedy assassination, there are the personal things involved, and that's something that I've studied for just a long time and kind of obsessed with it. These not quite as much, though they're all very, very interesting and think I look forward to learning more.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for the suggestions, but Johnny's going to talk about what Johnny wants to talk about.

Speaker 1:

Nope, not at all. I am going to. I am going to choose one of those and I'm going to do a little more research. I want to dig a little deeper. I don't want to just do the Wikipedia page and all the things that people know, or just watch Apollo 13 and regurgitate all of that. So, of the three Apollo 13, chernobyl and the Chilean minor rescue Thank you, dorothy, I greatly appreciate it. I will dive into Apollo 13 first and a later date on the podcast. I will do at least three minutes and I want to try to find at least one or two things that people don't didn't know about it and that I didn't know about it. So I'm starting with that one, because I know more about it than the other two. Though the Chernobyl television series the drama was just insane and terrifying still terrifying, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

So I'm going to jump into Apollo 13 and I'll be back in a later episode to give you some information and, hopefully, something that you didn't know that might elicit more of a conversation, because it is a remarkable story, as they all are.

Speaker 2:

So do we get any? We don't get any history today, then we're going to have to come back with history.

Speaker 1:

We're not going to get any history today because still I'm obsessed with this Kennedy assassination and I'm listening to.

Speaker 2:

Do you want 60 more? Okay, I'm going to give you 60 more seconds on the Kennedy assassination. Are you ready? You can talk about what you're listening to, but you have 60 seconds.

Speaker 1:

Okay, well, most recently what I've been? I've been listening to Rob Reiner and Soledad O'Brien's podcast on the Kennedy assassination, the name of which escapes me, and I'm going to try to actually get it up here and see who killed JFK. Very nice, well done. That's very succinct, to the point Occam's razor. But I'm being introduced to more people with ties to Naval Intelligence, cia and FBI and counterintelligence things that had more of a hands-on experience with Oswald and some other aspects of the assassination that I didn't know before. And I appreciate that, because a lot of times when I listen to a history podcast, like a Civil War podcast, I know pretty much everything that they talk about, and this one has opened my eyes to a little more.

Speaker 1:

I always thought that the reason that the Warren Report probably wasn't 100% complete was because Oswald had ties to naval intelligence and that it would be embarrassing for them to have allowed him to be along that motorcade route, and I'm now beginning to believe that perhaps his protestation that he was a Patsy may make a little more sense. So I'm still so knee deep in that. But I'm going to jump into Apollo 13 because Johnny wanted to be an astronaut when he was a little kid and then was disabused of that fact by all the math and science involved in that sort of job. So I'd rather play an astronaut in a play.

Speaker 2:

Well, I gave you 90 seconds, but that was great information and there are people out there that are enjoying this, so we'll just let it continue to grow.

Speaker 1:

You always say that but then you can never give me names.

Speaker 2:

Dorothy. I gave you Dorothy, Okay. Dorothy and she said she was the fifth, so maybe we have five or six. And again, we're still waiting for Riley to listen to tell us.

Speaker 1:

And I don't think Dorothy. If he'd have been Dorothy in Kansas, I'd have known you'd made it up, but I'm not.

Speaker 2:

She sent photos of all her different outfits that she's worn. She's not going to be at Marathon, but she is going to be at Disneyland. She was out on Columns Drive in Georgia. It's a full circle moment. Okay, but before we dive in to today's interview with Kayla, we want to thank our sponsors, right, john?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we want to give a special three, two, one go, shout out to Sarah Akers with Runs On Magic. If you want to experience some extra special magic during those Run Disney weekends or if you're just looking to get away, maybe with the cruise, sarah Akers with Runs On Magic can help you.

Speaker 2:

Yep. She can help plan just the right experience for you Complimentary travel planning services personalized. Our tenoraries Run Disney Universal cruise vacations. She does it all. Find her on Instagram at RunsOnMagic, where she shares special offers and more, or go to RunsOnMagiccom. And finally, we want to thank our recovery sponsor, hyper Ice. Even before performance, they're going to get you ready to go feel your best. I actually have my Venom 2 back on right now. John, I got it. It's here so you can go online to hypericehypericecom. Enter the code 321GO for extra special savings.

Speaker 3:

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

Speaker 1:

Well, kayla hello. Thank you so much for joining us on 321GO the podcast. First of all, how are you and where are you?

Speaker 3:

Hi John, I'm doing pretty good today and I am actually in Bluegrass, iowa today.

Speaker 2:

Okay, now, when is that in relative? Yeah, our Iowa geography.

Speaker 1:

I think we both made it to Boyd's.

Speaker 2:

John and.

Speaker 3:

I have both Boyd's gotten a lot of love here on the podcast. Yeah, so I am located pretty close to the Mississippi River. On the Illinois-Iowa border there's a group of cities called the Quad Cities that sit, two on the Illinois side, two on the Iowa side, and then I am about 20 minutes west of that.

Speaker 2:

All right, shout out to Kree Kelly, one of our Marathon Weekend announcers. He is the Quad Cities Marathon.

Speaker 3:

I just saw him at the Quad Cities. I did the half. So, great to catch up with him and he told me he will be back for maybe his last goofy or his last marathon week.

Speaker 2:

Yes, he keeps saying that he is older than you think. He's older than John. He's younger than Jeff Galloway.

Speaker 1:

He's older than you think. I love that.

Speaker 2:

I want to give him a t-shirt If it is his last year his fellow race announcers.

Speaker 1:

You know so long Kree older than you think.

Speaker 2:

Oh, my God, he is a great guy. I just mean that like he seems very youthful and sprightly, and that's not the point to talk about Kree's age. But, kree, if you're out there, we love you.

Speaker 1:

All right, kayla, before we jump into your athletic history and your history with Runn, disney and all of that sort of stuff, tell us a little about your background and your personal history.

Speaker 3:

So I actually grew up as an athlete, but I was a bowler, and so zero running and bowling, which was great. I bowled NCAA all through college and again no running. Nope, that was. The best part about being a bowler was that you did not run at all.

Speaker 2:

Well, that's fascinating. How did you become a very, very skilled bowler? Is that something your family does?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, we grew up as bowlers and I, you know, I bowled high school all the way through NCAA again and it was, it was an amazing experience to be, especially part of a collegiate team.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I found out actually relatively recently now. I come from a bowling family too. I grew up in the Washington DC area. My dad was very, very big at bowling. They did duck pin bowling, full size pin bowling, my wife's from New England, candle pin bowling there's all kinds of fun stuff. But in the Midwest, I mean, it is still a very, very big deal and to your point, collegiately it is ultra competitive.

Speaker 3:

Yes, the the weird, the weird thing about bowling in the at the collegiate level was that there are no divisions, or at least when I went through, there were no divisions. So we were a division three school and we would go up against division one schools. So that was. It was interesting, it was a. It was a really good time.

Speaker 2:

Are there any scholarships for collegiate?

Speaker 3:

bowling, not at the D three level. I'm sure at the D one level there are, but I got an academic one to go where I did.

Speaker 2:

So I do have a question, because we're going to you know, kind of dive into your Disney history and your running history. But we, a lot of us, know you as a huge advocate for athletes with disabilities. So you are a visually impaired athlete. Was that something that you had when you were bowling, or is this something that has sort of evolved as you got?

Speaker 3:

older. I've always had it's a genetic condition, so I've always had it. It does get better and worse. I have to have corneal transplants and so after I have a corneal transplant it kind of clears up that I kind of describe it as like a saran wrap and wax paper situation. So when I my disease will develop over time and it's like putting a wax paper over my eye and then I have a corneal transplant, they they put saran wrap on, basically, and then over time it just gets worse, like a wax paper would, and so I did make adjustments through bowling. Again, it was. It was very, very simple to make adjustments there, a lot simpler than it is for running.

Speaker 2:

So I'm a. I'm really like a terrible bowler, like really really like 55 ish, like even if it's granny. It just doesn't work for me, but I want to. Just I've gone totally off track, john. I'm sorry, but I'm fascinated by you know bowling seems like it's. You know where you stand, you know where you, what you do right. Is that kind of like?

Speaker 3:

an vision. It's very small adjustments.

Speaker 2:

So if you're in wax paper, you're like, well, I'm supposed to stand here, I do this. It feels this way we're running is oh look, there's somebody here. There's somebody here this is turning. I didn't know this course turned, so it seems like a lot more difficult.

Speaker 3:

but yeah, they're also. They're also not 20,000 other bowlers on the lane at the same time, Maybe we have a new sport.

Speaker 2:

You know, full contact bowling would be a terrible Out in.

Speaker 1:

Vegas inside the sphere. It would be huge. Put it on the All the lanes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's like. It's like what's that thing you like? Curling plus bowling, plus football all at once?

Speaker 1:

I'm here for all. I'm here for all of this.

Speaker 2:

Horrible idea, All right. Well, so you, you know a little bit of your personal history. We know your background in athletics, which gives you that sort of competitive mindset. Obviously, let's marry the other side of the story. What is your Disney history?

Speaker 3:

Disney as in like run Disney or Disney as Disney.

Speaker 2:

Like you know, we were trying to see we want to get a barometer here of like are you a Disney person or are you a running person that became a Disney person? Like where is Kayla?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, did it start in childhood? Or is it something that built up with you doing the run Disney races?

Speaker 3:

I'm a Disney kid that became a Disney runner of my family vacation every year was Walt Disney World. We went and then I eventually was a Disney cast member at the Disney College program. So I worked there. I worked at dinosaur in Dinoland for six months and that was in 2014. And then as soon as I came basically I came home from my college program I got married in Walt Disney World and soon after that I started running and I think it was to fill because I just graduated college, I just got married, I just started like my first real job and I needed something to like fill that space that bowling took so much of. And so my mom was, had been a runner for a while and she knew her first or her first half marathon to be at Disney, and so she basically said I will take you to Disneyland if you run this half marathon. And all I heard was I will take you to Disneyland. And so we trained for a year to do that first light side half marathon in Disneyland.

Speaker 2:

Awesome. I would like to shout out you for actually training for a year. I think that was the theme of wine and dine the no training. I have some stairs in my kitchen here I am.

Speaker 1:

We didn't interview a single person. We didn't interview a single person who said they trained for the race. I was just a little bit concerned, that's all.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, nobody had trained and I was a fellow college program member, although it was a decade before you and I lived in Vista way. I don't even know if that still existed when you were in college.

Speaker 3:

I was in Chatham Square.

Speaker 2:

I was not in this way, so the fancy part of the way- was those of you who know, if you know, if you know, you know, you know building 30. Holler, Okay, so your mom said you know, all right, if you run with me I'll go. You obviously wanted to go to Disneyland. How was your experience at that first run Disney race?

Speaker 3:

We immediately got hooked on run Disney. I unfortunately had the flu for that first half marathon, so I get all the way to Anheim and I just don't feel well. But I am, I think, made out of pierced stubbornness. And so I got up and I was like I'm going to walk as far as I can and if I need to pull myself for my own reason I will. And I ended up walking the whole 13 miles and we got done and it was just it. We just love the experience of race day, like we obviously never done anything that big before. And as soon as we got home we immediately started looking at the wine and dine race in November, cause we wanted that. It's back now, but we wanted that coveted coast to coast metal.

Speaker 1:

Right now I mean you. You moved relatively quickly from you know I'm going to run my first half at Disneyland into running the challenges. I think wine and dine is 2016. Wine and Dine was your first challenge here.

Speaker 3:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so that's a pretty quick transition into the challenges. What was it there? I mean, I think now that we know you're a competitive athlete from early on, but what drove you to jump in from? Hey, a great race that I had to walk, but kudos to you for finishing, because so many people might not do that to the point where you're like yeah, you know, one race a weekend is not enough for me. I want to challenge.

Speaker 3:

The medals, A thousand percent. We got done at Disneyland. Of course we had our Star Wars medal on and we saw everybody with the 5K, the 10K, the challenge. So we immediately were like we want every single metal that run Disney will give us.

Speaker 2:

There's so much FOMO. I think that happens right With run Disney, you know. You see, well, they have more medals than I have, they have this, and then I'm not going to do that race weekend. And then everybody starts to post that they've signed up and they're like, oh gosh, I've got to be there. And so we enjoy that FOMO because that keeps people coming back and that's how we get to know you guys, because we see you. So we fully thank the run Disney FOMO, but you truly have. Since your first race in 2015 and the challenge in 2016, you've embraced running.

Speaker 2:

So you finished your first half marathon in 2019, I think, first full marathon, first full marathon First full marathon, yep, and you thought that you'd like to do dopey, but decided to run first with the guide team in 2020. And so you've kind of explained to people that, while your vision has always been an issue, that in 2020, you had a more significant decrease in your sight. So can you kind of let everybody know about how your running journey, as well as your sight journey however much you're comfortable has progressed and how that's going now?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, in 2018, I had a corneal transplant in the right eye and it just did not take the way it was supposed to. It just has not ever really worked, for lack of a better term. So in 20, I think it was wine and dine. 2019, we were running behind Animal Kingdom and it was so dark back there that I, like, had to stop to a walk. I was like this is not safe for me anymore. So I was already signed up for Princess 2020 and I reached out to run Disney and I said, hey, I'm thinking about running with a group of girlfriends and they are going to guide me. I'm a visually impaired runner, and so they kind of filled me in on the athletes of disabilities at Run Disney, and that was the first race I had ran. I ran with two guides for Princess 2020.

Speaker 2:

I do a follow up. Can we just for people that I don't know that process? So if you are somebody that's an athlete with a disability and you need a guide or you need something, how does that work when you communicate that with Run Disney, Because you can't just show up with a guide, I'm assuming?

Speaker 3:

So, and that was a little more complicated, but I was like so I'm just gonna describe it as how it used to go so in your registration, when you register for the race, you have the option to choose the oh sorry. So when you register for a race, you have the option to choose the athlete if you're running as an athlete with a disability, and so I always check that box and then they kind of ask are you gonna be a wheelchair, Are you gonna be a push room, Are you gonna be a duo team? And I always check the. I require a human guide. And then there's a space to fill out their names, or sorry, there's a space to fill out their name, and then they pair you with that person.

Speaker 2:

Now do both of you have to physically register, Like does your guide have to, so your guide needs to the same day, like they have to go through those on the exact same day.

Speaker 3:

And if they don't get in.

Speaker 2:

They can't guide you.

Speaker 3:

I have never run into a situation where, let's say, I got in and my guide didn't. So I've never had to deal with any of that. But and I don't know how Disney would handle it- either honestly, so we're totally ignorant to all of this. Yeah, I like I so people are like.

Speaker 2:

You should know that and we don't. But I think I wanna know cause. I want other people to understand the process that it takes to have a guide, I guess yeah.

Speaker 1:

And you said used to go. Have there been changes and we're gonna jump around on the timeline here with the questioning on it because we're gonna bring this up a little bit later but have there been changes to that process now that have they either improved it or perhaps not improved it?

Speaker 2:

And I will say before you answer John, there have been changes and you and I know how hard run Disney works. So we know that everybody always has the best intentions of things, but I do think that, as Kayla might highlight there, the changes may have increased challenges for some people and hopefully that Well, we talked about this off air before you jumped on.

Speaker 1:

I know there have been criticisms and even though that you and I don't work necessarily with Run Disney directly we work more with Disney Entertainment we do give feedback, so we really want honest feedback. So now that we've set you up for it, kayla, the changes, what they are and how they have affected, how they have affected, obviously, some people negatively.

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, so again off camera or off pod, like it was a mess. It was a hot mess at Wynondine. Um, so the changes that they that and again, I don't know if it's Run Disney, I don't know if it's Track Shack, I don't know, I don't know anything. But the changes they basically made were that you, if you signed up as an athlete with disabilities before we were given a separate like walkout, we were given a separate corral, we were given a separate place to wait to. Basically they would send A, they would send B and then we would be snuck into the back of corral B and they eliminated that whole process for Wynondine. And so they, we, I picked up my bib, I went to the athletes with disabilities booth at the expo and they said all right off to your regular corrals with you.

Speaker 3:

And I was fortunate enough to talk to somebody at Run Disney who they adjusted my corral to match my guides. But I know a lot of people did not receive any sort of accommodation. So we kind of showed up like why did we check that box in the first place? Like why do you care for an athlete with disabilities if you're just going to send this off to our normal corrals or basically run. I ran with two girlfriends Like that's basically what happened, and so it was. It was. It was very frustrating. It was again being in the corral as a visually impaired runner. I have those screens right in front of my face, so I can, I can't, I can't see anything already, and then that's impairing my vision even further. And then the speakers are so loud I can't hear my guides giving me direction. There's thousands of people pushing in on you, making those like big corral U-turns. It was a hot mess.

Speaker 2:

Can I ask a question about other races? And I know you did Chicago, which we're going to talk about. Do other, you know you did Quad City. So what are their accommodations like?

Speaker 3:

Chicago was the best experience for a race for AWD that I have ever had in my entire life. So when I read or when I did the lottery for Chicago, I was able to do an AWD lottery, which is smaller but that means you get a better chance of getting in.

Speaker 2:

So some people don't. You could have not gotten into Chicago, Correct.

Speaker 3:

Okay, yeah, you're, yeah, you're basically putting a smaller AWD lotteries because they only allow so many athletes with disabilities to participate each year Again, from what I understand.

Speaker 3:

And so I put in for the AWD lottery, I did have to send in a physician note.

Speaker 3:

My doctor had to fill out what my diagnosis is, what my prognosis is, what my visual acuity was, and then when I finally got accepted to run Chicago, I did have the option to basically sign up a guide guaranteed, so I could send in, you know, I could send in his name and they would just send him a link to register.

Speaker 3:

He had already gotten in through the regular lottery anyway, so that wasn't an issue. But that was super nice that they allowed for me to be like, hey, we already know, if you already have a guide or if you need a guide, you can go through Achilles. But if you have one, we can send them a link and they'll get a guaranteed entry and they will receive every everything that a regular racer would get. So they still get a T-shirt, they still get a medal, cause I know some races don't they see it as like a volunteer opportunity rather than like your racing. So he's still got a T, you know, and he again. He got in through the regular lottery anyway, but it was beyond an amazing experience in Chicago.

Speaker 2:

And where did you guys start then? Relative, sorry, john, relative to everybody else.

Speaker 3:

I'm just trying to get a comparison so we can kind of understand like, oh, yeah, so we were given our own AWD corral, basically, so the art institute is right next to the start line for Chicago, so we were able to wait inside, which was super great, and basically, so the wheelchairs could make adjustments and switch from day chairs and all that other stuff.

Speaker 3:

So the ambulatory athletes were given their own space to kind of hang out until race started at 730, at 715. We were like, all right, we're all going to go watch the wheelchair start. And then we kind of hung out. It would be to the runners left if you're at Chicago, the left of the corrals and then, like A through D went, e got up to the start line and then they kind of filtered us into the back of E so we didn't have to wait in the regular corrals and they kind of just like let guide teams and other athletes go like every couple seconds.

Speaker 1:

All right well, kudos to Chicago, well done. And again, pass this information along to the good folks that run Disney, because nobody's trying to make anybody's existence worse.

Speaker 3:

They're trying to make it better, and sometimes changes don't work for the better, so and being like obviously I'm a very big advocate, I'm a very big voice for the athletes of disabilities community, like the people that reach out and they're like my guide dog is in a regular corral and it's not okay. Like my again, I had a ton of issues at Wine and Dine just navigating through the corrals Like and again Riley blesses heart. He came at the 10K when he interviewed me. He's like are you okay? I've heard the changes, I've heard they're not great. So just having like again when me and Kelly left, or like just to have you guys know and care that that these are the changes and we know our athletes are struggling and it's not okay.

Speaker 1:

Well, that information is filtering up. So let's keep our fingers crossed that you'll have a better experience. But I want to stay with Chicago because that experience was so good. You set a personal record. I did. Was that something that you set out to do? This is always amazing to me because I know a lot of people set out to do PRs and other people are. Just I was feeling it, it was feeling good, it just seemed, it seemed the right thing to do. Was it something that you set your mind on? And also, I've been asked to ask you about your treadmill training and how much you know we showed for folks who weren't here before the pod came on and you know why. Would you know anything?

Speaker 2:

No one was here before the pod came on.

Speaker 1:

John, I know I was pointing out my treadmill which gets far too little work actually, but talk about Chicago and your PR and how that came about.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so Chicago was the very first marathon that I really wanted to PR. I had my very first marathon, was my previous PR and so when I got into Chicago you know you have like a year leading up to the race because you know so early and I hired a coach I really took this marathon training cycle very seriously and treadmill training. So, being a visually impaired runner, I lost the ability to run outside, probably around 2021. I did one run outside and I thought a construction, a frame, was a dog and I was like, yep, that's, that's it for me outside. It's not safe for me to be outside anymore. So I moved 100% on the treadmill, which my first three half marathons. I trade exclusively on the treadmill as well, so it was nothing new to me, but I think I did the math and it was 350 training miles on the treadmill just for Chicago.

Speaker 2:

Wow, so do you have a treadmill?

Speaker 3:

at home or you're having to go to a gym. I go to a gym, okay, just because the if it sits in my house, it will collect laundry like John does.

Speaker 2:

And I used to work on home shopping network and sell treadmills and I would always make that joke and I was like who would actually do that? And two people, I mean, I guess it's just our family, by the way, I have this treadmill because Riley Claremont never used it and he gave it to me.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I just want to point out that this treadmill has a has a checkered pass, though it's where I train for my 5k and where I'll be training for my 10k, except on those eight to 10 days a year where you can run outside in central Florida in the middle of the day.

Speaker 2:

For me that's three hundred and six. I have two follow up questions, john.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

One. So for you, Caleb, because you're training all the time in the treadmill, what does it feel like then when you're at a race and you are outside and you're getting to kind of experience? It must feel like a very different experience.

Speaker 3:

It does. It almost feels like a little treat. It again, I'm always running with a guide, so I'm always running with a friend of mine, which is the cherry on top of the experience. But yeah it just. It translates pretty well, at least for me. Going from treadmill to outside training. Obviously you have a lot of different elements outside, but I've never had an issue being a hundred percent treadmill runner and then doing races outside.

Speaker 2:

Do you ever alter the incline or do you just stick to zero or one percent, Just if you had a hilly race? Do you ever account for that in your training?

Speaker 1:

I do not.

Speaker 2:

This is my running brain coming outside. I just didn't know if that you know if the incline of the treadmill was more dangerous or anything like that.

Speaker 3:

No, I just, I just adjust speed. Okay, I'll just probably say for Furby as a visually impaired runner.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yeah, is that challenging, having to adjust the speed as well on the treadmill sometimes?

Speaker 3:

I mean at this point. I'm so used to it that I barely even notice it anymore.

Speaker 2:

Because I've had times on air that you know if you're not paying attention, that can be a little. Oh, I stepped on the side and done that thing.

Speaker 1:

That's like you're going to tear a groin muscle. If you do that again, please don't do it again. Please don't do that Right there with you, Right there, let's talk about, about dopey.

Speaker 2:

You've you know, dopey is an amazing experience, have you? You did your first dopey, I think in 2022. Talk us through what that was like.

Speaker 3:

Oh, my goodness, it was. I mean, I was scheduled to do it in 2021, obviously, with the pandemic, that did not happen, which is why I did my first marathon in 2019, just to see can I handle the marathon itself. Because that's what dopey honestly really is about is getting to that marathon start line, and it was just the the pinnacle of you know. Three years of training and treadmill miles and just to get to that marathon finish line at dopey made me fall in love with the marathon Like I've never felt so excited to be a part of something that big. That's remarkable.

Speaker 2:

I love that you say that because I obviously, you know I love I have a door running. I don't get to run marathons as much as I want to, but I love that like for you. It wasn't this horrible experience, it was this. No, I love being a part of this, I love doing that. And then you've gone on to do other amazing things. What about the character Disney aspect of it? How much you know? John didn't see anything on his race. I was raining.

Speaker 1:

A lot of the things weren't out there. It wasn't just all me.

Speaker 2:

I just like to make you say that every time I'm a little bit not OCD, but like I want to stop, but then if I'm running fast like I don't want to stop, where are you on that spectrum of I love Disney, I'm in Disney. How much are you taking in?

Speaker 3:

It changes from race to race, for sure, but obviously I have my, my guides with me who kind of point out like the entertainment stops along the way. So like we just did wine and dine and we were dressed. As for the half marathon, we were dressed as Merida and her brothers, as bears, and so for the half marathon, we stopped for like Duffy bear, poo bear and the country bears, cause we're like we have to keep adding bears. So it really depends on the race, it depends on who the character is and it depends on how I'm feeling Cause, for when we did, I did goofy 2023 and I was feeling so good for the marathon that I was like I don't, I don't want to stop and mess it up in any sort of way.

Speaker 2:

That seemed like a year where a lot of people had really good marathon times and I was really jealous sitting up there like, oh you know, you cause you. You know a marathon to get a perfect weather day you can't ever guarantee that so that seemed like a really good year for a lot of times out there on the course.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I'm curious, duffy. This year was really fun.

Speaker 1:

I'm curious about this because talk to a lot of people, obviously, who've done that doing have done their first dopey and a lot of them, if not a majority, have said the struggle run for them was the half. Because a lot of them said the same thing you did when you get to the start line for the marathon you were this that is the culmination at all, but that the half is tough because you're now running more than you have and you've already run for two days. Did you find the same thing? That that was the, that was the most struggle.

Speaker 3:

The half for me for my dopey was my hardest race. It was it, I was. You know this is the third day you've gotten up in a row. You're cranky, everybody's cranky and you know, we kind of my guy team and I kind of had like we always had a run plan for all four races but we're like we're going to interval to about mile seven or eight and then we're going to walk it out because again that marathon is what dopey is all about is getting to that marathon start line and I got to like the interval to probably like seven and I was like I am so over being out, I want to be done and I want to be at the marathon start line. But again, the marathon for dopey was my best race. So that's, if I got to sacrifice the half to get the full, I'll do it.

Speaker 1:

You're not the first athlete who said that again. I always found that interesting and it made sense, because they consider that the hump race is really the half marathon and that's the one the struggle to get over. So, chris, let's remember on Saturday we have to be much nicer to people in January, on Saturday, because the dopey's are very grumpy at that point in time.

Speaker 2:

And we'll call them the grumpies that day the grumpies.

Speaker 1:

Okay, now we've touched on this a little bit, but I am interested and I think a lot of people will be on one of the biggest hurdles for a site limited athlete on a race weekend, both on and off the course.

Speaker 3:

Even just getting to the start line sometimes can be a challenge, especially at I've done a lot of big races. I've done a lot of run Disney races I think I did count and this, the wine and dine half marathon, was my 37th run Disney start line. Wow, which is bizarre. I'm incredibly lucky to be able to do all of that. Yeah, even just navigating your way from the buses to the start line and then, once you get started, of course, those races there are so many other people navigating the course in the dark with all of those other people around and then having to. Of course there's a. There's a lot going on, on course. There's characters, there's entertainment, there's music, so, but I'm also trying to pay attention to my guides who are giving me instructions. Like you know, there's a speed hump or there's a we're coming up on a curb or we're coming up on a turn. So just having effective communication through the whole race can sometimes be difficult.

Speaker 2:

So does Riley's voice help you when it's like caution, athletes, bumps ahead.

Speaker 3:

I love. The very first time I realized that it was Riley I was like, oh, it's really gave me a little pep in my step and he's helpful.

Speaker 2:

Yes, you know those.

Speaker 3:

I do.

Speaker 2:

I complained to Mark after the 10 K because I like when we come we're leaving, caught me go through the ticket booth and the music's playing loud and I was like I didn't hear the music. And he was like, well, we had to up Riley, because the speed bumps we need to make sure people know the speed bump. I was like, okay, I understand, I hear you, for safety. He's like the music was afterwards. I was like, well, it was in a different place and if you know, john and I, when you change something we are very curfuddled, we don't we don't accept change.

Speaker 1:

I fear change.

Speaker 2:

We do accept it eventually, just just not quickly. Something I like to ask the athletes with disabilities how can other athletes better support you on the course?

Speaker 3:

The biggest tip I have for able-bodied athletes who are running, our open ear headphones. Where I wear shocks, I know a lot of people wear the shocks or just like one earbud in is super helpful because I am totally relying on the audio cues from my, from my guides and, if you know, if we decide we're walking on an interval and we say walking, we throw our hand up and then if you can't hear me and I can't see you, that could lead to you know, somebody falling or somebody getting hurt. So the best advice I have is open ear headphones so you can be aware of other people around you.

Speaker 2:

That is really great advice because that definitely makes it so they can still enjoy what they want, yes, and then they're definitely more connected. So this is a half a story, half an apology and half a question, which that doesn't add up. So third to third to third. So I think I told this on race day when I saw you at the end of the 10K and I'm walking. This is so embarrassing. There is a question in here. John, I think you heard the story.

Speaker 2:

I'm walking back to get to the race and it's very hard for me to walk back because I have to have somebody with me, because I just look like a runner who's just taking it upon themselves to turn the other way and go back and I see Kayla and I'm like, hi, Kayla. And then she like kind of looks at me which doesn't see me, I'm right here. And then I'm like, oh my gosh, I'm such an idiot. You know like what? And it just it was more, wasn't? It just didn't connect. So my question is if someone says something that is maybe it's insensitive, maybe it's just ignorant, what should we do? Because I'm not just free with any athletes with disabilities. I think sometimes we want to support but we don't want to say the wrong thing or use the wrong vernacular. So how can we as as advocates, as supporters, best navigate when we sometimes put our foot in our mouth?

Speaker 3:

or in our eye. So first of all, again off pod. So Kelly and me were walking out of the 10 K and she goes. Hey, that's Alex who used to take care of us in our athletes with disabilities, Corral, who was walk.

Speaker 2:

Alex was the one walking me and Alex was the one walking you back.

Speaker 3:

And so she goes hey, that was Alex. So I turn around and I look for him. And then I was like and then you said something. And I was like, oh my God, I've embarrassed myself in front of Carissa Galloway because I didn't see her. And Kelly's like you really you're mad at yourself for not seeing something. And I was like, well, I feel I feel dumb, but it was, it was so funny. Well, good, it went both ways. She's like you said something and then we walk away. She's like, oh yeah, that was Carissa. And I'm like, oh no, I made a fool of myself for it.

Speaker 2:

No, you didn't. I was just like, oh, I'm right here, like, oh, what an idiot. So how do we navigate those? And then, you know, with athletes with disabilities, how do we just, if we say something that I don't know, do you know what I'm saying, john? Sometimes I think we're like we don't know what to say, so we say nothing, and that feels worse.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely, you do. You want to say the right thing. You want to. You want to celebrate, we want to celebrate everybody, but you also do want to point out a lot of people get climbing over hurdles that others don't have to. You want to. You want to recognize that, because I think it really is, and from all the feedback we got, which was so wonderful over the weekend, of people listening to the podcast and being inspired by people like you, I think there is a tendency sometimes to want to go overboard and then you stick your foot in your mouth.

Speaker 3:

So at least, again, I'm speaking for me, for my experience as a visually impaired runner. If you, let's say you don't know who I am, but you see the visually impaired runner bib that I usually wear on the back of me, if you really want to, you can check in. Just ask me about my guide. How are you guys doing? Are you guys doing okay? Or even just announce yourself I'm coming up on your right, I'm coming up on your left. That is one of the most helpful things, just so I can tell where everybody else is, because I'm so worried about myself and my guide making it through that I kind of forget that there are tons of other runners.

Speaker 3:

Again, for visually impaired, for my experience, announce yourself, ask how we're doing, if you do happen to know who I am. Of course I can't see we kind of joked at wine and dine because people would pass and they would go, hey, kayla, my guides would be like oh, who's that? I'm like I don't know. I can't see that part. We kind of like, if you do know who I am or really want to say hi, to say hi, kayla, my name is and my handle is, because that's how I will know who you are.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think more people would know you that way, by your handle. Actually.

Speaker 2:

That's what stinks at the finish line. John, and I will say this all the time. People come and they wave and I'm like I don't want to say that runs with ears through. I don't know your real name, I feel terrible, but yours is nice because you're Kayla, so thank you for that I did that on purpose.

Speaker 1:

It makes it much easier.

Speaker 2:

This is Pulkman.

Speaker 1:

We've talked about the other athletes, but given you this opportunity in this platform to talk to race directors, if there's anything you could tell race directors that would make the experience better for athletes with disabilities as a whole, but site-impaired athletes most specifically, what would you ask them to do or to consider doing?

Speaker 3:

I always kind of joke when we're at run Disney races. Of course you're running in the dark through the parks and I turn to my guides every time, like when I run run Disney I'm blowing the whole budget on lights. I'm putting lights everywhere. I know it would kind of break the experience for a lot of people, but even just more lighting. I think the number one thing I really have for race directors is that if you have a group of athletes with disabilities they have been living and struggling with this disability for a long time. Just to listen to their needs. If I come to you and I say, hey, I'm going to need this accommodation. I've been living as a visually impaired person for almost 33 years Just really take that to heart. Just really try to understand that they know what they need.

Speaker 2:

You are so well-spoken that's a wonderful way to say it. As you're talking, I want people to realize it would have been very easy for you to be like I can't run a race, it's too hard or there's too many things I have to go in and I'm not going to try this. You, and all the athletes with disabilities, you want to do these things and you deserve to be able to do them in a way that's safe and enjoyable for you. I hope that race directors and anybody out there sees that, while it may take a little bit of organization or conversation, everybody that has the courage to get to that start line deserves to do it in a way that can fill their soul and empower them and allow them to make every mile magic, but also do it safely.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for all the work that you do advocating for athletes with disabilities, because I think there's room to grow. There's a lot of progress that has been made in terms, but there's definitely room to grow. You not only advocate for athletes with disabilities, but you are a big supporter of all the athletes and the charities that are out there, including Kelsey's Hope. We love Kelsey's crew, but for people who aren't familiar with them, can you tell us a little bit about them and why you chose to work with them?

Speaker 3:

She's Hope and Kelsey's crew. They raise money for cancer research and for make-a-wish trips for kids battling cancer. Growing up as a kid who was in and out of the hospital a lot and really not knowing what the heck was wrong with me a lot, it resonates with me that, and again, my family was fortunate enough that we did vacation at Walt Disney World every year. I want to be able to give that to somebody who is struggling, who is in and out of the hospital, who may not know what their diagnosis or prognosis may be. I did Dopey my very first Dopey with Kelsey's Hope, and then I did Goofy 2023 and I'm doing Goofy 2024, all with Kelsey's Hope.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they do Great. We shout out to them too. We always bring this up, but their supporters stay at the finish line till the bitter end waiting for all past the balloon ladies, and they're such a great energy from those folks. Again, millions of dollars are raised by so many great organizations, but the Kelsey's crew folks stand out because of their support at the finish line of all the athletes. That really helps us as announcers I know we can speak for Chris in this is that just keeping that energy up in the cheer zone after we've been talking all day and nobody really wants to listen to us mispronounce names any longer or use jokes that we might have used in the past? Shout out to all of our great charities, but the Kelsey's crew keep it coming. More cowbell, as always. All right, what's on your upcoming race schedule, kayla? Where will people see you competing?

Speaker 3:

Well, they have to see me because I can't see them. I am the number one person to make blind jokes. Don't you worry, I will be. I just did Wine and Dine. I was. It was my eighth Wine and Dine challenge. I am perfect for the challenge. I absolutely love being legacy for that race and then I will be back for Goofy 2024. And after I did my first Dopey in 2022, I did Goofy in 2023. And showing up to the half marathon just like energized, just like oh, first race day, we're ready to go, we're pumped up, and if you just see all the Dopeys, like, please stop, this is day three. And I was like I think Goofy's, I think Goofy's it for me. I think I love the.

Speaker 2:

Goofy vibe. All right, that's interesting. Maybe I could okay if I because I don't know if I could handle Dopey. I mean Dopey announcing would be an amazing challenge, john, to try to attempt to do Dopey and announce but Goofy's out. You maybe have sold me on Goofy with that, with that little mental shift there. I would ask you, because you alluded to it before, you are a well-costumed runner. We've had DW on, we had ready makeup. Can you tell us a little bit about some of your?

Speaker 3:

you know your highlight reel, if you will, of run Disney costumes oh my gosh, the when we had Star Wars races, of course for a long time, and still kind of I never really dress on theme for the race, I try to avoid the theme like the plague. So although for the Star Wars races I wanted to do Padme Amidala and so I did a Naboo Handmaiden, which I feel is a really deep cut, but that was my very first interview with Riley, so because he kind of walked up and he's like what the heck are you supposed to?

Speaker 2:

be, and good for him because he has the space to ask that. John and I asked that on Mike, and then we seem like complete idiots, which is fine we are, but I love that.

Speaker 3:

But yeah, I was a Naboo Handmaiden and then I was a Padme Amidala in her red outfit for the half that year for Goofy 2023. I was power line, you know I kind of matched the theme, but I was. It was a great 90s outfit, yeah you can't mess with that For the half, for Goofy, we dress. There's a group of us that dressed as ourselves in the 90s at Disney World, so I had a picture of myself from Disneyland and I tried to recreate that outfit for the half marathon, which was super fun.

Speaker 1:

Man I have an idea for a costume for me on the time I'm running the 10K now, because I first came to Disney in 1976. And until you've seen John Pelkey in cut off jean shorts, a sleeveless T-shirt and a Budweiser beer can hat, you have seen nothing.

Speaker 2:

No, well, I will tell you, john, I think there's a company that makes, like a spandex, jean print, so you wouldn't actually have to do the 10K and jean shorts because that I feel like your first 10K and jeans, and Central Florida humidity is just asking for a long to go wrong there Probably fair.

Speaker 2:

All right, Before we wrap, we get to our final questions. I have a question Now. Kayleigh, I don't know if you've listened to the podcast that just dropped this week as we're taping, but we talked a lot about Brandon, who left his fiance at sea, and you are connected right with his fiance. This is the story, just the saga, as Riley called him, the Disney Stocio path, which could have chosen his words a little better there. Riley, how do you fit into the saga?

Speaker 3:

So we are at the start line of the half marathon and Kelly and Brandon who I've been friends with Kelly for a long time, she's guided me for the past three wine and dines and we are watching him like interview with Riley and everybody's confused Like why is she lost at sea? Why is she still at the sea? Where is this girl? And we're like we're in Corral Sea and we are like she's right, here I have. And so we we laughed about the entire race. We're like, and then, of course, brandon caught up with us at the end of the race and so we're just like nope, she's here, we got her. She's not lost at sea.

Speaker 1:

There were questions. People were confused, I think fairly, it's early in the morning. It is all he said was we were on, we were on a cruise Riley's like where is she now? And he goes at sea and it's like and that was the problem.

Speaker 2:

But it was cruise sea. Like if he had just said you know, this is my fiance, oh, congratulations, she's at sea. We would have never questioned it. It was the cruise setup and I just love how deep this saga has going and even you're connected with it because we you know we didn't put together that. The woman that is not at sea is your guide and she guided you at that race, did she?

Speaker 3:

Yes, she, she's done the challenge with me for the past three years.

Speaker 2:

And get it See, see, we're really bringing it all together.

Speaker 3:

All the different she was doing, she was doing the seeing. She was see, not at sea, but in sea. Wow.

Speaker 1:

There are. The puns right themselves on this, don't they? And listen to Brandon's credit. He is embracing the sociopath thing. He is embracing it, and I would not be surprised if he has a sociopath t-shirt on at some point when he runs a race later on in the season.

Speaker 2:

I don't think Riley meant to like say he was a sociopath. He just thought that like is. Anyway, you got to listen to the other podcast. But when he said it we're taping I was like oh, oh oh, boy Brandon's embracing. Riley's allowed. Riley gets the grace. Riley's allowed to go rogue. John and I have to stay in our lane, but Riley.

Speaker 1:

I know that's the fun of his position. All right, let's get to the questions that we ask all of our guests here. When you get to a hard place in your training Kayla in a race, what do you do? What do you think? What are, what are the strategies you use to get over that home?

Speaker 3:

I think most of it is pure stubbornness. I grew up in a world where a lot of things I was told that I could not do or I would not be able to do because of my disability, and it kind of brewed into this very stubborn nature that I now have. I'm also very goal oriented, so signing up for something as big as Goofy or Dopey or a marathon like the Chicago marathon, I always want to finish what I start. So even though I don't like I'm not perfect, I don't always want to go to the gym, I don't always want to get on the treadmill for four hours to do that 60 mile run, but knowing that I am lucky enough to tow the start line of like the Walt Disney World Marathon I think keeps me going through some tough times.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome, and just thinking about you know all that you have overcome and how you're paving the way and inspiring so many other people leads me to my next question and I'd love to know from your point of view. We see a lot of inspiring things, yourself included at Disney. For you, what's the most inspiring moment that you've seen at a race?

Speaker 3:

The Chicago marathon was one of the biggest races that I've ever done. It was 48,000 runners. And of course, we get to the Art Institute and I get to see all of these other amazing athletes, all of the wheelchair athletes, the push room athletes, the hand cycles. I saw a double bladed athlete. I saw an athlete with dwarfism.

Speaker 3:

I am lucky enough to occupy this community of athletes with disabilities and just to see that again, we were all all of the things that we have that every single runner has had to overcome to get to the start line of the Chicago marathon, a world major marathon, and we were all going to start and we were all going to finish and, even though everybody might not know, like, oh, she did 350 treadmill miles, like to get to this point, because she had to.

Speaker 3:

That was incredible and the amount of support we also got from the able-bodied runners on that race course was absolutely phenomenal. We me and my guide would you know? People would pass us and be like you guys are doing great, Keep going. Or they would just announce themselves like, hey, I'm on your left, I'm on your right, and I even had a woman who, like physically touched my shoulder and she's like I'm right here and so we guys are doing great. And then kept going and it was already an emotional race for me, but to have the, the running community that has always given me so much love and support, just bring me up for that that one day Incredible.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's that's so great to hear and that's that we hear more and more stories about what a supportive community the fastest growing participatory sport in America and the community is a positive supportive community and that I think that's really important. All right, caleb, people obviously are going to want to follow your adventures. If they want to do that, where can they find you?

Speaker 3:

I'm mostly on Instagram and I am at Kayla runs Disney.

Speaker 2:

So you want to follow and we will be following you and we will be seeing you soon. By the time this airs, it will probably be very, very soon. So Thank you, kayla, for everything. We appreciate you being on, for everything you've done for the community and we'll see you real soon.

Speaker 3:

I cannot believe this was real. This was real, guys. This was real, all right athletes.

Speaker 2:

Here's the drill time to shape up your diet. Theresa, give them the goods. All right, john, it's January, the resolutions have come and they have gone, and so we lose weight. We gain it back. Has that ever happened to you?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it happens everybody. And I think before I became a dietitian I had that issue because I was, I was modeling, I was doing pageants, you do these yo-yo things and then I'd get to a place where I again we've talked to other people no monkey for owners Like I wasn't Overweight, I was uncomfortable for myself. So that's one of the reasons I became a dietitian was I wanted to learn how can I do this better? And I learned that a lot of times when we lose weight, we gain it back. It's it's the weight loss roller coaster, right. It's like right in the diet express only to find yourself back at the snack station. So for those of you in there, I want to give you the why and then in future episodes will give you what you can do differently.

Speaker 2:

But one of the reasons why you might be seesawing is emotional eating. That's what we call a sneaky ninja, because stress, boredom, sadness, joy, celebration Can all be tied to our emotional eating. So when life gets tough, sometimes we go back to food and we rationalize well, you don't know what I'm going through. You know that's in our head, this conversation we had, you know, whatever. So when you go to that pantry, pause for a moment and ask yourself am I hungry or am I just having a moment? Find non-food ways to cope with emotion. Maybe it's listening to this podcast I just can't I'm. Or a walk, or doing yoga, or just singing a song, putting on a song you love, and seeing if that takes that emotion away from needing to eat and just needing. Maybe it is like a hug To yourself, just from some other way on.

Speaker 2:

The other thing you can do is the yo-yo dieting. It's a wall, so it's up and down. It's up and down and when you do that it messes with your own metabolism so it pushes that threshold of where we all have that set weight. It pushes the set weight up and it makes it harder to say it a lower weight, making it harder and harder and harder to shed those pounds. So that's why, when you can find that that maintenance phase and stick to that diet, that really is best for your metabolism and best for your mental health. And then the other thing that people don't realize sleep Deprivation can really affect your hunger hormones, making everything again that rationalizing that food Harder to say no to, because your body generally is craving that food for energy because of sleep deprivation.

Speaker 2:

So a side of a run Disney weekend. Folks try to aim for seven to nine hours of sleep and really truly create a bedtime routine Dim the lights, put down your phone Do not scroll your phone right before bed, pretend you're a cozy burrito in your blankets and then with sleep, with everything food, sleep, wellness, related. You don't have to be perfect, but aim to make progress, Embrace that journey and keep rolling into that adventure. And if you want to gain better control and I think a lot of what we do in healthier you is help people make peace with.

Speaker 2:

If I make a bad choice, what do I do and how do I, like we talk about with running, feel good about myself running at my pace. Let's feel good about your nutrition, embracing the fact that we're going to have some flaws. So healthier you is 12 weeks of nutrition education. It's a year of support with monthly chats. There's meal plans. So go to galloway course, comm, use the code podcast to save $150 and I hope we can stop your yo-yo dieting and help you feel great about where you are.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, sarge. This question came via email, but Carissa didn't save the name and by the way, she wrote this that I would say that you came clean. This is not me. I would not.

Speaker 2:

I actually, weston, put it in the Google Excel sheet, but I just did. I couldn't find the email, so I apologize to this person. Please let us know your name so we can you know. Like it's a correction in a future episode.

Speaker 1:

All right. So anyway, from our anonymous as of now listener will try to want to be one of the great mysteries of three, two, one go. The podcast will finally find out who. Here is question. I'm looking for tips to returning to activity after a surgery. My case is a bit unique. I'm a chair athlete and I'm having having a thoracotomy, that is, chest surgery. For anyone who doesn't know, and I didn't, and I had to Google it, so I can't even push my regular day chair for three Months. So how about some tips for returning back to activity? One of the more difficult things to do, carissa, but we see athletes Every run Disney weekend who do it yeah, interesting that we said that earlier today.

Speaker 2:

You and I take a lot of different podcast things. We talked about Tim O'Donnell's podcast and in his podcast it brings me back to what he said about giving yourself grace. So I had to go up the ladder because I felt like this might not be the question I can answer. So I sent out an SOS to mr Jeff Galloway. So I got his tip so these are from from Jeff and he said coming back from a layoff, especially due to medical issues, is an exercise in Patience.

Speaker 2:

So first talk to your doctor as to what's allowed during those first weeks and stay on the conservative side While allowing the injured areas to heal.

Speaker 2:

If you can gently exercise the muscles that are used in your main exercise, then you'll maintain more of your basic fitness and range of motion.

Speaker 2:

Then, if you're totally inactive during the recovery period, jeff says when you're allowed to restart your training, do a very gentle workout every other day, with a slight increase in duration of Three to five minutes only if there is no discomfort. He says there's no set pattern for increasing intensity because there are so many variables among those who have had a medical procedure, but the general rule is to stay below the threshold of further irritation and Jeff says I wish you the best in your comeback in 2024. So to anonymous listener, we do wish you the best. And for anybody out there going over an injury, it really is a big mental struggle, especially for those of us who use this as so much of our mental release, the exercise. So for what you, I would say is focus on meditation, focus on things that you can do Really, focus on journaling and finding the good in every day, and we hope to see you back at a start line real soon.

Speaker 1:

And I think it's great that you're reaching out to find out how to get back into the activity. That says to me that you're in the right mental headspace, because that's a difficult thing to get by whenever you're rehabbing any sort of injury or coming off of the surgery. So best of luck. Anonymous listener, we can't wait to find out who you are and can't wait to see you back. Had a run Disney race soon and can't wait. Can't wait to get to the weekend. I'm very excited. I'm actually a third of the way packed already.

Speaker 2:

Oh gosh, now you've given me anxiety because I haven't started. I haven't, I'm doing my laundry right now. Well, you guys, thank you for listening and we'll see you real soon.

Visually Impaired Runner Kayla Aline
Discussion on Various Topics
Bowling, Disney, and Running
Disney Running Challenges and Accommodations
Chicago Marathon
Experiences and Challenges of Marathon Runners
Advocacy for Athletes and Charities
Inspiring Moments at the Chicago Marathon
Excitement for Listener's Return and Race