Thursday, October 23, 2008

Run. Track. Run. + RunnerSusan = Awesome

RunnerSusan has become an awesome tester for Run. Track. Run. She told me in an e-mail that she had 3 years of running data on her 205 and asked if would it upload. I told her to give it a go cause I had only tried it with 3 or 4 runs on my watch. So she did and it worked. She uploaded 162 runs. I know because my boss went into the database and checked on her stats (I guessed that her username was runnersusan :-) ).

She has since then sent me a bunch of freedback and things she would like to see. Awesome because she sees how useful it is and how much potential it has even in it's most basic form.

So a big thanks to her. So for the rest of you that haven't tried it, check out this post about it and give it a go! Feedback is always welcome!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Run. Track. Run. Guidance and More!

In my weekly GeekFest Run. Track. Run. was demonstrated. After going through the site and explaining the importance of things we chose to be in there, it was suggested by other Obtivians that I talk more on here about what is what and why I chose what I chose as far as the graphing goes.

I got so frustrated a few years ago when I got my Garmin Forerunner 205 because while the watch was awesome, getting the data off of it and into a form that was useful was impossible. Since I was a Mac user I didn't have the ability to use SportTracks and I thought that there should be software or a website anyways that works cross platform.

Anyways...thus enter the RailsRumble competition and an opportunity to build something awesome. The following are some screen shots and explanation for why certain things were chosen and why even though there isn't a *ton* of functionality there is probably more than what you think and what is there is very useful.

I want to take a line here to thank the team that took my idea and built exactly what I was looking for. So thanks to Dan for the awesome Boogie Nights design, Dave for the backend cleanliness and Fred because without Fred there would be no graph awesomeness and so the site would have been a list of runs you have done which would be less than useful.

So here we go. Enjoy. (E-mail with comments.)

Garmin Importing
This was really important to feature. Because without having garmin importing you would basically have a spreadsheet :-). Right now this is just going to get your splits/distance/time. I don't have a heart rate monitor, but that functionality is coded in as a "todo" item for those of you that do have that so as we roll out more features that will be one of the first to come. So right now you get an unstyled list of the runs that are currently on your watch, listing the date and the total time the run took. If you select that top check box they will all import, or you can import them one by one. Please give it some time because that little spinner at the top is only spinning as "working" for the first file.

Displaying your Data!
After it's done (you can watch the status bar on your web browser) go back to your dashboard. and you will see something like this...depending what exists on your watch. My watch had 4 runs on there, spanning 3 different weeks:

The graph that is shown at this point is your miles/week. If you click on those arrows you will go backwards and forwards in time in a cool way. That's good information because you really want to know what you are doing on a weekly basis. This graph shows 8 weeks of information at one time but again you can go back and forward in time. The dates on the bottom are the Mondays of the week...because well my life starts on Monday. The right side of the screen is show you your last 5 runs, as well as the next 5 runs you have planned.

If you click on one of the points of the week, another plot shows up below it. This is expanding that week out and shows you what you did each day of the week (Monday - Sunday). So you can see what did for everyday that week (for example here I selected the second point of the first plot up there) :

From here you can get more details on an individual run. For example, if I click on the Sunday run I get the following :

So right now the text is the distance of the run, and then the time of the run (in minutes....this was the last feature implemented). The graph shown is showing your splits from the run in orange, and the filled in area is your average pace over the run. I think is by far one of the most useful graphs you can look at. So for that 9 mile run I can see where I was above or below that average pace. What I would not want to see is that orange line creeping up at the end of the run...showing that I didn't have anything left or that I didn't pace myself properly. So I can get a visual of what I was during...really how I was feeling...during the run.

Other Features!
Other features right now include displaying what you had planned to run. On your dashboard in the lower right hand corner there is a "Scheduled Runs" bin. From here you can plan runs (distance and time...although the time for a planned run doesn't do anything yet). If you have planned runs they will show that on the top two graphs so you can visually see what you are doing versus what you were *supposed* to do.

Also, if you run twice in one day, the bottom part will show both runs:

(Notice that the top run here is my run from this about that pace plot it's like I knew what pace to run to get a nice smooth line! The bottom one is made up)

Eventually these will be popup things that show all that information because it's kind of hard to see it all on a scrolling basis. Also the individual runs will show more information as we add that into the database.

You can also add runs by hand, splitting out the splits as well. Note that here we have it adding your splits up for the total if you left the total time blank, but we don't have it checking to make sure they are the same (or close) if you have imputed elapsed time and splits so be careful there.

So. That's where we are. Hopefully this provided some guidance and explains why the graphs we chose for version 0.8 where these three. This application was built in 48 hours....which is pretty awesome...there is a lot there for not a lot of coding time.

Whenever there is an update to the application I will note it on here so stay tuned! So go here to use it!

3 Miles. More R.T.R.

Alright. Really. No comments? That's cool. I know the site is pretty basic and kinda buggy, but it's getting there. So this morning Jason and I got up at 6am. We had a window open in our bedroom and so we were's freezing and look how nice the bed looks....but then we said....nope we can get our asses out there and run a bit. Plus if we did I could upload data to Run. Track. Run. and start tracking what I'm doing. I love my pace graph from this morning. It's like we knew to keep speeding up so that our pace slope was smooth:

I noticed bug in the right hand column. Right now we are just showing the runs that are not after today....but I think we needed a +1 in there so that it showed runs for that if you look close it looks like there is no run for today but there is a 3 mile anyways. Obviously, going to be growing in time, but functional for now.

Not a bug with our software *exactly* The Garmin datetime is funny and I'm wondering if it's because it's time is in AM PM and we are expecting Military time....

Felt good to be running in the morning.....kind of....I'm anxious to get to the point however where it feels easy...which I know it will be.

GeekFest at work today will be demoing the site which is exciting. Tonight I'm grabbing a drink with a friend and then going to Crate and Barrel to maybe buy an awesome couch for our new giant living room....

Alright that's it from here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

More. Run. Track. Run.

This is a screenshot of the Run. Track. Run. site showing off the Garmin functionality. Kind of dying that we can't do anything with the site for two weeks while the judging is taking place. But you can do enough to get the awesomeness of it.

Run.Track.Run. from Dave Hoover on Vimeo.

Run. Track. Run

After you finish a run, there it is.
Sitting on your watch.
Your data with nowhere good to go.
Don't lose it. Use it!

Well. After years of having an idea in my head there is now a website to match it. This weekend Obtiva competed in the RailsRumble with an idea for a better running tracking site, something I have been wanting for years.

We are still in the early stages. Version 0.8 Alpha you might say. But we are in a great place for the site to continue to grow and lots of features are in the works. For now though you can import runs by hand or from a Garmin. If you import from a Garmin, your mile splits will be extracted and plotted. Like I said....still lots to do, but holy ass is it awesome even as it is.

So enjoy: Run. Track. Run.

(Please e-mail with comments and suggestions or other features you would like to see)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Great Hawks Game

Well the home opener was not a success in the winning terms....but it was a whole hell of a lot of fun. They had a packed house and that place was *crazy*. Our seats were great, upper deck behind one of the goals....except the people that we were sitting next to kind of sucked. The  girl next to Jason had breath so bad that I could smell it...seriously I wanted to ask her to stop cheering. The family next to me was *awesome* in the sense that they didn't get out of their seats for the entire game and just looked kind of annoyed to be there. But smashed in between them was your favorite running duo. 

The game went into overtime tied 2-2, then went to a shoot out...where the Hawks looked like little boys playing against men. To our goalie...seriously put your legs together...the puck can obviously get through there. So we lost in a shootout....but I hadn't seen a shootout yet so it was really exciting. 

Tonight after work Jason and I are going to run 5 miles. Yay! Then we are going out to The Hideout for the weekly Obtiva gathering. So that should be a good time, although I think my system needs a bit of a break so won't be out too late.

My Dad is flying in on Friday and I can't wait to see him! They were flying in for the Cubs world series, but as this family is still not talking about it we are just going to enjoy the city for a few weeks. This weekend is also the RailsRumble competition which  should be a really really great learning experience for me. Hopefully things sail smoothly on that front and fun at the same time. 

Alright, thus starts Tuesday. 

Monday, October 13, 2008


My writing lately has been super sporadic. As has my running I suppose. Although last week I was sick and chose to try to get healthier faster instead of run. 

This week should be better. Although we are now thinking that it wouldn't be that awesome to run the Miami marathon and so instead we are just going to try and run to run, and not run to race. So I think we'll just try and run 5 miles 3 times a week and then 10-15 on Sundays. So we'll see if we can do that. As far as the Miami would have been too much. I would have wanted to see my mom and that was kind of the main point, but with a race, it would be a lot of going to bed early, going to the expo, freaking out about the race...getting up at 4am to run the race and then going home. There wouldn't have been enough time to actually see my mom. So it looks like we are going to Florida for Christmas. I really enjoy being in my home for Christmas but if we go to Florida I get to see my mom which of course makes it worth it. Christmas this year is on a Thursday, so it's looking like we'll take the Friday off and then I get Christmas Eve off but Jason only gets a 1/2 day so he'll probably take that day off too. So that should work out pretty well I think. 

So yeah...going to try running unstructured....nicer for the winter I think. 

Although if my weekend behavior continues, I'm never going to run again. I'll just leave it at we had a great time on Saturday night with fellow Obtivian people, a drunk text message to a friend led us to a bar on the west side of the city at 12:30am and we ended up going to bed at 4am. Let's just say Sunday was a slow day. Needless to say I didn't get up to watch any part of the marathon. I'm actually ok with that as I have run the race 3 times and spectated 3 I get the deal. That drinking business has to stop though cause my liver is going to look like camouflage (yeah yeah I stole that from Chuck) if I continue. But I do have to say...after training for marathons for 3 years and not going out on Saturday nights, it's nice to go out again. 

Anyways. It's Monday. Jason and I are going to the Hawks home opener tonight which should be awesome. And....oops time to work. 

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Relaxing Weekend

Aside from watching the Cubs blow up in the post season again, Jason and I had a pretty good and relaxing weekend. On Friday night we went out to dinner and split a bottle of wine and got into an argument about whether or not the Cubs are losing because of "luck" or because they didn't bring...well...anything to the table. sigh. 

On Saturday we walked around the city, did some shopping and the non Saturday night we went out for an old friend's birthday party. Since we had a long run on Sunday we just had a couple of beers and then headed back home. I totally think that our neighborhood is a secret haven of parking spots. We got home at 11pm on Saturday night and I started to get the terror or circling for parking...but then I looked around and there were spots everywhere. I took the chance and kept going towards our apartment, and we totally got a spot a block away from our building. For those of you non-city people, this can be a pretty big deal. although I don't really care anymore because since moving in September I think we have driven about two or three times, which is totally awesome...making me wonder why I am shelling out 1K+ for insurance every year. Nice to have a car on hand though I suppose. 

On Sunday we had a long run of 9 miles. I know (!) 9 whole miles. We started off, maybe a little fast...but then slowed down to a nice slow run pace. As we were running a woman named Beth started chatting us up and it made the next few miles fly fly by. It was nice too because she was running at a slightly slower pace than we were and so it forced us to slow down for those 3 miles or so. Not to a bad point either, just where we probably should be. We were then able to kick it into higher gear for the last 4 miles, including a final mile of 8:04 min/mile. Nice to see some faster miles again. I swear we are going to get in 4 runs this week. We have another Wednesday night Fight Club happening but I am planning on running on Tuesday, Wednesday and then either Thursday or Friday. This week is actually a cut back week on the long run and so we are only looking at 6 miles on Sunday which is nice. 

Alright, well that's all from this world. Happy Tuesday All. 

Friday, October 03, 2008

Just Terrible

The Cubs? Yeah that's who I'm talking about. Who are these rookies playing our Cubbies jerseys? 


Well shit, the Dodgers still have to win another game, so it's not over yet. 

Last night we didn't do anything except watch the debate and the Cubs both of which brought some anger in our household. A box of Kleenex might or might not have gone flying across the room. I know. We are crazy. 

Since we didn't run last night we have to run tonight tomorrow and Sunday. So we have 5 on the schedule for today, 3 tomorrow and a big 9 on Sunday. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Last Ones Out?



Map Room is awesome. Especially if you are leaving it and the doors are closing behind you. And not just closing like to close, but closing like, "We're closed so get out". Jason and I went out with people from my work who are all way cooler than I and it was a ton of fun. Almost everyone from the team I am on showed up and it was fun to see all those kids outside of the office. 

But yeah I think I went to bed at 2:30.....not usual behavior for this lady. 

Oh yeah and I got home and I'm pretty sure I drunk facebook e-mailed a girl from high school that I haven't talked to in 11 years or so. So that's pretty awesome. I'm just looking at facebook and also noting that I also commented on a bunch of people's activity feeds. Again. Awesome. 

What's not awesome is the Cubs. Holy Hell. I know it's only game one, but the team that showed up last night was not the team we have been seeing all year. Let's get 'em tonight boys!

Alright, well it's 9 am and so it's time to work.

Oh yeah and that 5 mile run this evening will probably be postponed to tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Zurich Baby!

Oh hell yeah. It's awesome having friends that decided to stay in academia because they get placed at awesome places like Zurich. Then we totally get to mooch off of them and stay with them so we can go to one of the most expensive cities in the world and not have to pay for a hotel. yay. 

In all seriousness, our really good friends from graduate school (Aaron and Karen) live in Zurich and I found tickets that were pretty reasonably priced during the week that Karen has off from work SO I bought them. It's totally nice to not have kids sometimes as we can just decide to go do that. We are going in February so the weather might not be the best (probably why the flights were so cheap) but hell, February in Chicago leaves little to be desired as well. Since we are there for a nice stretch of time we might try and go travel to Italy or something as well. 

So that's exciting news. 

In less than exciting news.....I didn't get up to run this morning. I don't know why I continue to think that I'll be able to get up early to run. I NEVER do. So we are going to have to go tonight and DVR the Cubs game and watch it make in non-real time. I'm so excited about the Cubs, but we have been here before. They have made it to round one and broke our hearts. And so, they gotta get through this first series then we can really start to get excited. Plus my Dad is flying in in a few weeks, so that's also very exciting. 

Alright. I have to stop smiling and not go looking at every website that has the words "Zurich" on them. Yay. I should thank ahead of time, Aaron and Karen for letting us crash with them for a week. Ok. Time for meetings