A few reflections on Smashrun’s 3rd birthday

As far back as I can remember birthdays have always been as much for me about celebration as they’ve been about introspection. It’s important, I think, to occasionally pick your eyes up off the road beneath your feet and look off into the distance to be sure you’re going the right way, but also to look back behind to see if you’re happy with where you’ve been. Seeing as this past week marks Smashrun’s 3rd birthday since it’s launch, and since the vantage afforded from here is as good as any I am likely to find. I decided to write blog a post.

Smashrun is Jacklyn, Steve, and myself. We aren’t funded. We don’t have sponsorships from big fitness companies (or small ones for that matter). And for the last 3 years we’ve paid our expenses out of pocket – with the notable exception of our 6 month participation in Start-Up Chile. Thanks people of Chile!

Considering that Nike, Garmin, RunKeeper, MapMyRun, etc have literally millions of dollars in funding and large engineering/UX/design teams I think we’ve done pretty well. The thing is, when you’re working on something that you’re really passionate about, devoting yourself to it completely isn’t something that’s difficult to do. And I think that’s really the magic that has allowed us to accomplish all that we have with so little.

But what I think has really been astonishing is how much you guys have chipped in to help. When I put together the first mockups of the site, we decided to include a little line on the bottom that read:

“Questions, problems, ideas or just want to help? hi@smashrun.com”

Since then we’ve had people offer their help coding, drafting design mockups, sending detailed bug reports, beta testing new features, even offering to print smashrun decals for us. So, in a way, as much as we’ve invested in our users, they’ve also invested in us. And that to me feels a lot like family, which is a pretty wonderful thing to feel.

So, here we are, now and where are we going? Garmin support is big on the list. It’s in beta right now. We’ve been working like crazy to resolve all of the issues our beta testers have found. And it’s almost ready.

We’ve also made the decision to allow pretty much unlimited running histories. We’re hoping that one doesn’t come back to bite us. Between all the new Garmin data and the extended histories, our database is now growing at nearly a gigabyte a day. Our current servers are holding up, but at this rate, they won’t be for long.

Clearly, for Smashrun to grow and thrive, it’s going to need to be self-sufficient. So with that in mind, we’ve also been working on some “pro” features. These are things that we’ve always wanted to build, but that we knew would put a big load on our servers if we did. By making these features part of a subscription, we hope to cover our server costs, but more importantly we want to be able to fund the development of all of the cool stuff you’ve been suggesting to us. (Shout-out to those who completed their surveys. We’re listening and taking notes.)

So happy birthday Smashrun! Thank you to everyone who’s been with us from the beginning. And thanks to everyone who’s joined along the way. Hopefully next year our family will be a lot bigger, and we’ll have built a lot of those features you’ve requested and that we’ve always wanted ourselves.

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Mid-March Update

Hi everyone,

Last night, at 11:03PM EST, we released our second patch for the February Release. Any issues associated with delays in importing Nike+ GPS data or problems with loading maps have been resolved. Please let us know if you find any other problems and we’ll make sure it goes out in our final patch!

In addition, we also included a button within badge details that lets you “relive the joy” of earning your badges. Here ya go – give it a test drive.

longStairs

You can even share the badge url or post it to Facebook and when someone else clicks on it, they get to see it in the same way you did when you first earned it. Yeah!

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More things are coming over the next few weeks and thanks so much to everyone for the ongoing feedback.

Happy running, Smashrunners!

Quick patch

We just released a patch for a number of issues that popped up after our release last week.
Thanks to everyone who emailed us about the problems you’ve encountered. Hoping this should resolve a great many of them.

If you’ve had trouble with:

  • Syncing runs from Nike
  • Editing manual runs
  • Importing from or linking to Garmin (beta testers)
  • Getting a Corleone Badge before missing any days
  • Missing runs charts.
  • Missing maps

Hurrah! We’re reasonably sure you should be all sorted out.

If you’ve had trouble breaking your 10k PR. Then we suggest you use another browser besides Internet Explorer, and hold down shift while clicking refresh immediately before your next run.

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February 2013 Release Notes

We are super excited to share with you our very first release for 2013! We’ve got running streaks on the Overview pages, and route maps are finally here!

You can view your longest streak on a yearly or monthly basis and we threw in a couple of easter eggs (like my sad Wylie Coyote) to make it more interesting as you hit certain milestones.

longest streak

Then, in preparation for Garmin’s integration, we’ve brought back the ability to re-import your running data with GPS so that we can backfill any of your old runs with its corresponding route map. You can access the re-importer on settings > SYNCED DEVICES.

Reimport

However, before you opt-in to reimport all of your Nike+ GPS data, it’s very important to understand that doing so could change your current stats on Smashrun (and, for the most part, in a very good way!)

You see, every run tracking device has a different way of processing your metrics and smoothing out the data. So every time you import your run from one source into another, there are algorithms that are being applied to clean up the pauses or breaks in GPS. Some methods are more accurate than others. To ensure that any run you upload into Smashrun is handled consistently regardless of what device you used to record it, we need to start calculating your run details from scratch. This means that re-importing your data will allow us to calculate your metrics using only the trackpoints in your GPS data.

The upside to this is that we’ll be able to provide you with more analysis since we’re backing the summary details straight from the source. The downside is that what you see on Smashrun will not always match what you see on Nike+, but it’ll always be very close. Not to mention, your route maps will look pretty friggin’ awesome.

routeMaps-blog520x91

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But if you’d rather not touch your old stats, don’t worry about the re-import (you don’t have to do it). You’ll still get your route maps for each new run you sync going forward! Yay!

Let us know your thoughts. We’re actively testing Garmin with a few users over the next week and hoping to get it out to everyone as soon as we can. Hope you guys like the new additions!

PS: We did add several new privacy options in conjunction with the release of route maps. So if you wanted to only show the shape of the map but remove any actual location details and remove the ability to click on it, you can do that as well. Just go to your settings page > scroll to the bottom > expand privacy settings and check what you want to apply > click save changes once you’re all set.

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Badges for crazy, mad runners

On January 1st our very own Jacklyn Giron will complete the 366 day running streak that she started last New Years. Since 2012 was a leap year that will make a total of 366 days she ran this year. This is crazy, mad running. To a keep a streak of this magnitude going you’ve got to make all sorts of compromises. A calendar year is littered with events that can trip up your perfect, pristine streak. Hurricanes, snowstorms, international flights, marathons, weddings, funerals. Whatever life throws at you, before the clock strike midnight, you’ve got to find a way to squeeze in a run.

You don’t run a streak because it’s a good training practice. Your body needs rest to rebuild itself. Running challenging runs back to back is a good way to get yourself hurt. If you want to train and run a streak, you’ll need to balance hard runs and recovery runs. And you’ll need to run smart by following your morning race days with easy late night runs.

So if streaks are brutally hard to maintain, and they are far from optimal training, why attempt one at all? The answers will naturally vary from person to person. I’ve attempted a half dozen streaks and been foiled each time before hitting my goal due to a new distraction — missed flights, late work nights, forgetfulness, beer.

I learned a couple of things from these streaks. The first is that discipline breeds discipline. The sense of accomplishment you get after finishing a run, makes you want to follow that up with more accomplishments. When I run everyday it puts me in the frame of mind I need to be in to get things done. The second thing I realized is that the daily ritual of being alone, active, and outside for at least some part of my day keeps me sane. Good coders are obsessive coders, but stringing days and nights and nights and days of coding together can turn even the most stable people into a bizarre caricature of themselves. A daily run seems to be an effective antidote.

So, without further ado, let me introduce the 5 new and slightly mad badges in ascending order of difficulty. These are all terribly difficult to achieve, so we made them black and gave them a broken border with the hope of creating a kind of terminator meets grandma’s yarn badass minimalism. Obviously that failed, but hopefully we’ve earned a little respect for the attempt.

 

Run 365 days total
You get this badge for running any 365 days. That’s a years worth of run days, but you can take however many years you want to accumulate them.
145-365-days-in-2-years
Run 365 days in 2 calendar years. Essentially you’ll need to average 1 run out of every 2 days for 2 years. Whew.
146-365-days-in-a-row
Earn this badge by running a solid 365 days in a row. You may start whenever you please, but you have to finish your streak at least 365 days later.
147-365-days-in-a-year
Get this one by running every single day for a calendar year. That means you’ve got to run every day from January 1st to December 31st.
148-366-in-a-year
Run 366 days in one calendar year. Unless your name is Steve Tant, Dedrick Welch, Pete Field, or Jacklyn Giron you’re going to have to wait 4 years to have a shot at this one. (yes this is very silly, but what can we say, so are we)

As always please don’t run if you feel you might be risking injury. No badge is worth a blown knee. Check out our tips for streaks and advice for scheduling runs on the Smashrun training blog. If you’re shooting for one of these badges and your legs aren’t up to it you can “run” however short you want. The spirit of these badges isn’t about being bull headed, it’s about dedication to the sport.

PS
Don’t worry. We know these badges are crazy. We’ll be adding new badges for normal non-insane people soon.

PPS
Garmin, GPX, TCX, HRM imports are getting really close to being ready for beta testing. Expect more updates in the coming weeks.

13 comments

“Error getting 1 run to test credentials”

The last two weeks have been particularly challenging for us as we tried to further stabilize the run import process. Some users reported that they received an “Error getting 1 run to test credentials” after trying to sync their runs. In addition, there was a known issue within the settings menu for saving “trim” options within Linked Devices.

Both of these have been resolved. For those that still see an error when trying to sync, please let us know and email us at hi@smashrun.com.

We really appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience!

One comment so far

Duplicate runs on import

UPDATE as of 9:12pm EST: we are back up and running with the import! Please let us know if you continue to experience any problems so we can look into it immediately.

As of 11pm EST last night, some users started to experience issues with importing their latest run(s) and ended up duplicating some of their historical run data. It seems to be a broader issue and we are looking into it right now.

Please try and hold off from syncing your latest run and we’ll update everyone with the release of a patch later today! We do apologize for the inconvenience.

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Help for users who run more than once a day

After the last monster release we’re working on pushing out smaller a more regular upgrades.

Here’s the latest:

  • Address an issue some users are having with the Nike import. This won’t solve everyone’s problems, but it’s a start. Expect more patches over the coming days.
  • Allow easy access to multiple runs on the same day.

 

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Nike+ import is up and running

Smashrun is now compatible with the new Nike+ website. We apologize for the outage while we upgraded our system but, starting today, you should be able to seamlessly sync your data from the new Nike+ site without issue.

Please let us know if you run into any problems and we’ll sort it out right away.

As always, you can reach us via hi@smashrun.com, our Facebook page, or @smashrunHQ.

Thanks so much for everyone’s continued support! We really do appreciate it – especially @chrislukic who coded all through last night til 4am this morning before his flight out of Santiago.

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Nike Integration Update

Dear Smashrunners,

SmashrunHQ here – with a small bit of context for the Nike situation we find ourselves in – as well as a quick update on our progress towards resolving the recent Nike+ run import issues that continue to impact the majority of us since their (excellent) site upgrade on June 6th. We know you all want to sync your new Nike+ runs in order to Make Every Run Count, as well as continue making progress on the new badges that we released earlier this week! Please rest assured, we feel the same way, and are doing everything in our power to address this problem.

First, the context: Nike’s recent site upgrade looks good, and is much better than their old site from a technical perspective. However, Nike has not ever provided direct support to third-party independent developers and companies such as Smashrun, and these nice new Nike changes broke our bespoke Nike-to-Smashrun autosync functionality. Without Nike’s support to restore our access, team Smashrun has been burning the midnight oil to reverse-engineer Nike’s changes and modify our application to work with their new website.

Second, the good news: Smashrun now understands the changes that Nike made to their site, approves of them as a dramatic technical leap forward, and has a plan to adopt a new process for syncing your data back to Smashrun. Although, we do not have any realistic timeframes for resolution to share with you at this moment, it is worth mentioning that we believe we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We appreciate your support, and we appreciate you bearing with us while we figure this out. We’ll continue to update this space with more information as it becomes available.

Cheers and Happy Running,
Chris, Jacklyn, and Steve

15 comments