Sunday, February 13, 2011

3 Non-Joggers: The Interview

I’ll admit, I’m not generally a big listener of podcasts. This might be because I don’t often listen to my ipod while running, (although I certainly have no problem doing so if the situation involves a long, and potentially painful, road race). The only podcast I’ve listened to with any regularity is NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” Yeah, I’m kind of a nerd that way.

But since we don’t do television around our house, we’re pretty big on audio, whether it’s via radio or the internet. We’re huge music lovers, but we also get all our news from the radio. So, when I found out one of my favorite bloggers was putting together a podcast … about running … I was totally onboard for the listening ride.

I’ve been reading Russ’s blog almost since I began blogging, and I even had the pleasure of meeting him last year at the finish line of Western States. A talented writer, and helluva nice guy, I knew any audio segment that he put together would be a good time, and I was not wrong.

Russ, along with talented, non-jogging buddies Gary (the) Vale and Carl The Mailman, are the voices behind the internet podcast, 3 Non-Joggers. Coming to you from a basement in Portland, hilarity ensues when these gentlemen agree to an exclusive interview with Daily Adventures. Ladies and gentlemen, The 3 Non-Joggers …

Daily Adventures: So, what was the inspiration for putting together The 3 Non-Joggers podcast?

Russ: To be 100% honest, I noticed a void in running podcasts: Most of running podcasts have TONS of information in them, which is fantastic, but I figured other non-joggers out there would like to break it up every so often with some screwing around. Plus, as we recently discovered, our goal is to be your “running buddies”. This is just how we yap to one another on the trails. Including all of the cussing and bathroom talk. Mostly the bathroom talk.

Carl The Mailman (CTM):  Russ & I are friends.  He mentioned that he wanted to get a podcast going.  I kind of invited myself into this, offering up my producing / editing skills to help him out.  

Gary:  Russ and I met in the summer of 2009 and started running just about every long run together after that.  We talk about so many things out there, we thought it would be good to talk and let people listen to it.  Russ had the idea of doing this in podcast form, and I think we initially were going to call it "After the Long Run."

DA: How did you guys meet? (Please tell me you met Carl when he first delivered the mail to your house!)

Russ: I’m kind of the linchpin of the relationship: Carl and I were friends, having been introduced by mutual friends, and Gary and I had been running together for over a year.

CTM:  Actually the first time I met Gary was about 20 minutes before recording episode #1.  If I were Russ' mailman I would totally tell you what dirty magazines he gets.

Gary:   Russ and I met by chance as we were both running a long run in Forest Park in the summer of 2009 and we struck up a conversation and realized that we were both training for a Hundred mile race later that summer called Hundred in The Hood.  We have been friends ever since.  Carl and I met 20 minutes before the first podcast and I had no idea what to expect.  Turns out Carl is pretty cool!

DA: Your podcast has a very laid-back style to it, and that is clearly part of the appeal. I feel like I'm hanging out in my living room with friends listening to you guys, (except I'm usually driving, and you make me wish I had a beer in my hand). How much planning/scripting do you do for each episode? Do you have specific goals for each one? Do you ever edit things out?

CTM:  We are pretty up front about this show being made by 2 runners and a mailman, pieced together $5 bucks at a time.  They (Russ & Gary) try to have helpful running info in each episode, and Gary (the) Vale truly knows more about running than anyone I have ever met, but where we have found our place seems to be in becoming everyone's running buddy.  I am very comfortable with the arrangement.  I jump in from time to time when the running talk gets to be too much.

Gary: We constantly joke about how we are not ready for this episode as we usually do very little planning.  We have developed a few segments that will repeat each episode.  Carl is the master editor and I am sure he edits out when necessary.  But I think mostly we just say stuff, and you get what we say.

Russ: Oh, good! That’s our goal! Well, except the part that you’re jealous you can’t have a beer in your hand. I joke a lot on the podcast about how unprepared I am, but I do actually do some show prep. Although you’d never guess.

We’ve implemented having a single subject we can always come back to after we go on our idiotic tangents. But our only goal is to have a good time. As far as editing goes, we try to not cut out too much, but sometimes it’s necessary. You bet your ass Carl will NEVER cut out Gary’s beer spills and mike blowouts.

DA: Where did you get that theme song from? Because, um, totally cool! 

Russ: I KNOW RIGHT?! My good friend, Mike Henry, is a comedy writer in Los Angeles, and an (obviously) incredibly talented musician. I sent him about 7 bullet points for ideas for the song. 2 weeks later, that showed up in my inbox. I burst into tears, I was so blown away. We’re hoping to have him on the podcast as a guest. And yes, I am a crybaby.

DA: I love the title of the podcast! I've had to educate many a non-running friend about the difference between running and jogging. What exactly do you think the difference is between running and jogging, and why are you all non-joggers?

Russ: The funny thing is, if you listen to episode 1, we actually come up with the name while recording. As soon as the words left my lips, we all looked at each other and said, “THAT’S IT!”

Gary:  I like to describe the difference between running and jogging is that joggers are the ones who wear the fancy sweat suits, jog on the streets, and they keep jogging in place at stop lights.  Runners wear shorts and when there is a chance to stop for a break, we do!  Oh and of course the obvious thing is the pace.  Runners move faster than joggers.

Russ: Gary and my joke on the trails is when one of us says, “Hey, can we stop for a second?” the other answers with an emphatic, “YES!”

DA: On the show, you’ve commented on the attractiveness of both Hal Koerner and Shalane Flannigan. I’m curious; whom do you find to be better looking? Any chance of getting either of them on for an interview?

Russ: It would be an honor to have either of them on as guests! Having that much speed under my roof might cause the roof to collapse, though.

Who’s best-looking? Whew, that’s a toughie. Hal without the scruffy beard makes my heart aflutter, but looking at Shalane’s abs makes my eyes twitch. Having only met Hal, I’m gonna have to go with…Shalane.

CTM:  Hal is a friend of the show, and is welcome to come in at any time.  I have actually been in contact with Shalane Flannigan's manager.  It seems like she has been swamped with interviews lately, but we have traded a few emails about having her on the show in the spring.  No promises though.  I would love to see either of them walk into our "studio" just to watch Gary freak out.  

Gary:  Well I guess I would choose Shalane, although I know Hal and he is very charming in person.  I would love to get either of them in for an interview.  We will see.

DA: You might interview Shalane? Really? How cool is that! Although, you’re all completely wrong about her. Hal is much better looking.

How long have you guys been runners? Ultrarunners?

Russ: I’ve only been running for about 7 years, and an ultrarunner for 6. Yeah, you could say I have a bit of a compulsive streak in me.

Gary:  I have been running since 1986, the year I graduated from high school.  I ran mostly shorter races and road marathons up until 2006 when I decided to try a 50k.  I also ran on a trail that year for really the first time, and have not looked back.  I love the tranquility of the trails, and the length of ultras.  I get to run, in the woods, for a long time! 

CTM:  I hate jogging.  The only thing I could imagine worse than jogging would be jogging an ultramarathon.

DA: Okay, Carl, but we’re talking about running here, not jogging. I’m going to assume from your answer that you hate running equally, if not more than, jogging.

I notice two of you appear to have the same middle name of "the." Could you explain this, especially where Gary is concerned? (Obviously, Carl is a mailman. Um, right?) And why doesn't Russ have a nickname? (And can we create one for him, please?)

CTM:  Gary had never been in front of a microphone before, and we have had the pleasure of watching him grow and get a bit more comfortable with his role as co-host. When he realizes that the mic's are on, he really does turn into Gary 'The' Vale.  

Gary:  That nickname was given to me.  I didn't really ask for it.  I guess it's a show biz thing.  Carl's name is simply a description of him.  Russ needs a nickname.  How about Russ the McGarry.  Wow.  That was creative.

Russ: Carl has always been “Carl The Mailman” to me. He actually introduces himself with that moniker to everyone he meets. Gary (The) Vale happened rather by accident: I introduced Carl The Mailman during a podcast, then turned and said, “Gary The Vale, how are you?” or some such. It just stuck.

As far as my own nickname goes, take it away, folks! Feel free to brand me. Not literally. I have sensitive skin.

DA: As much as Gary’s suggestion still has me laughing, I think we should take Russ at his word. Nickname suggestions, anyone? Feel free to comment!

I particularly enjoyed your interviews with Amy Sprotson (especially since I learned how to pronounce her last name) and Yassine Diboun (who's name, believe it or not, I already knew how to pronounce). Portland seems to provide a wealth of talented ultrarunners for you to interview. Who's next?

Russ: We’ve got some other incredibly talented, local runners in the works. It’s pretty funny when we escort our guests downstairs and they see that, yes, this is an actual, unfinished basement we’re dealing with. Kind of a “Silence of the Lambs” vibe, I’d like to think.

DA: Uh, really? Cuz I was sort of picturing something more like “Wayne’s World.”

CTM:  If you could call Alberto Salazar for us I would really appreciate it.  He's not in the phone book.  MR. SALAZAR!... EMAIL US!  3 Non Joggers at Gmail dot com!

DA: What else do you guys have in the works for our listening pleasure?

CTM:  More jogging talk... and busting Gary's chops.  Starting on February 7th Carl The Mailman dot com will be up.  I am in post production of my first feature film, set to be finished in August. Full disclosure:  Russ & his wife Annie are my producers, and have been instrumental in helping get this film close to completion. 

Gary: More of the same.  With hopefully continued improvement in creativity and maybe more running talk!  If I have any say!

Russ: We plan on cranking out 3NJs every week that we can. Other plans involve remote podcasting from different locations, and, once we’re even more established, possibly a live 3NJs podcast in front of an audience.

I know for a fact that last statement made Gary crap his pants a little bit.

Awesome, guys. Let me know when you want to remote podcast from Tahoe. Thanks so much for your time, and for the laughs. I promise a few bucks into the swear jar, and we will all go out for beers next time I am in Portland.

You can download the podcast of The 3 Non-Joggers at iTunes here.


  1. Wow, they're hilarious AND talented. Fun stuff, and great interview -

  2. Sproston, not Sprotson. ;)

  3. (sorry, I couldn't resist)

    And if you ever do make it to the basement in Portland give me a holler. Would love to get together for a run or a beer.

  4. Amy - Whoops, sorry! (No wonder I was pronouncing it wrong ... ) I'll definitely let you know next time I'm in town, although I'm pretty sure I'll be seeing you at at least one race before then. :) Hooray!

  5. Again: You RULE, Gretchen! Thanks so much for the interview and your time.


  6. Great interview, Gretchen! I'm a 3NJ junky. Actually, I think I'm bordering on being one of "those" fans. heh heh heh

  7. w00t! Thanks, Gretchen!

    fatozzig: "Bordering"? ;)

  8. fatozzig - Awesome! Glad to hear from a 3NJ fan! Thanks for checking out the interview. And don't worry, I'm pretty sure those guys like stalkers. I mean, you heard what Russ said about his 'Silence of the Lambs' basement, right? ;)

  9. Great interview! I'm looking forward to going back to the Yassine and Amy S. shows. Keep up the ensuing hilarity guys!