The MiFitness Trails Story ( and why you are seeing a podcast)

Okay, so You’ve wandered onto a page with a whole bunch of podcasts even though you were looking for the Mifitness trails app stuff.

Let me explain.

You are in the right place. Things happened much faster than I ever thought would happen. This is a website I own that was the backbone of a podcast I did several years ago about being an indie developer, before I got way too busy with othere projects, mostly with some work for a small company called LinkedIn. I keep telling myself I should record a few new one, but never have the time

I also didn’t check to see that Mailchimp default to this website when you sign up.


I’m an indie, not a big business, so I sometime don’t get everything polished.  I’m trying to do all of this on a very tight budget,


So  let me tell you about the app in case you haven’t heard the whole story. One of the few podcasts you might want to listen to is the Why the Head of Donald Duck fuels success It had part of the following story in it.

It starts in 2013,  when my wife decided to start running to lose weight. I went along with her and we got into our first Hot Chocolate 5k. We got hooked after that. Then the next January, I got caught in a traffic jam at mile 15ish of the Disney Marathon with the road restrictions. I decided watching over runners, I was going to run that marathon.

I worked my way up in milage, running the 2016 Disney Half which I barely did, hitting the wall and never recovering after mile 10. I got injured later that year, recovered  and then started to train for the 2018 Disney Marathon.  The problem was long runs.

Like most long distance runners train several times a week on short runs and once a week on a distance or long run. I’m one of the  Jeff Galloway followers when I couldn’t figure out how to run at all, I’ve use many  timed intervals of running and walking for better endurance. 

My ideal run is one outdoors on one of the many bike trails around Chicago. Some are long enough to run a full marathon on. One of my train routes runs through two counties. There are situations where that is plainly not practical or safe. Especially in winter months, the darkness and invisibility of a runner on the road, icing conditions and othere safety concerns will force runners, and definitely me,  indoors and onto treadmills. Living in Chicago, not far from sketchy neighborhoods, running in the dark just didn’t seem like a good idea. 

So I bought a treadmill. Treadmills are not jokingly called Dreadmills for nothing. A five minute run can seem like hours. A common solution, built into many fitness club treadmills is a television to watch your favorite shows while running. Television bored me worse.I can handle YouTube While walking, but not more than a few minutes. I  wanted the experience of running outdoors on my treadmill, the joy of running and navigating. I wanted the adventure my favorite or new running trails gives me.  

There are a few apps that simulate running outdoors in an indoor environment,  but most require the user to use their trails only, pay for every trail you use, or have to pay a premium subscription fee of $20 or more a month to use the service if the user wants custom trails. I didn’t want to spend that much, and wanted to run where I wanted.

I wanted something else. Something that worked for me.

In July 2017 I ran a very good 5K and Half marathon At Rock N roll chicago.  I was on my way to increasing my milage past 13 miles. Then something stopped me from running. One week I ran fourteen miles, the next I could not manage four. The next week I could not eve manage a half mile. After consult with a Physical therapist, I found I had some abductor muscle issues, and the solution was some therapy, Which worked. I was able to run the Hot Chocolate 15K after two week of therapy, although rather slower than I had planned.

By now before I could even leave work, it was dark, there was no time I had during daytime to run. I would have to train in my treadmill. I also would have to cross train on my bike trainer.

Also in July 2017, my work at LinkedIn produced a Video course for iOS developers on using maps and location in their programs. I thought about it, and decided to build the app I needed to keep myself busy.  It was for me, but as I quit it, it got more complex. Instead of typing paths in by hand I automated it by drawing on a map, and saving those courses.

It worked. Better than expected. I had to start over at eight miles for long runs after my injury and work my way back up. TO keep me in mood of my goal I picked as my trail the Disney Marathon, Theo course I was going to complete in only a few weeks. I got as far as about mile sixteen or so, close to the turnoff for ESPN. So at my pace that put me at about four hours or so on a treadmill, and not noticing the time.

I’d call that quite the successful  app.

a few weeks int December gave an unexpected few days of Above freezing Saturdays. I got my last runs in outdoors, getting to nineteen miles. I could not have gotten there without all that treadmill training.

I sprinted past the Balloon Ladies at The Disney Marathon for a finish time of 7:28:12.

My life got busy with many things after the marathon. But now, a year after I wrote it, I want to make  my app something more.  I want to sell it.

And that is why you are here. I am going to do this right. I’ve written several apps in the App Store. They never did very well, and a large part of that was I never involved real users in the process. I’m not going to make that mistake again.  You are here to help and to have a lot fo fun along the way. I’ll be looking for your input to decide what I do and don’t do in the app. I’ll be asking you what features to keep and what to add.

The App is about making your own adventures while confined to the small space of a treadmill belt. We’re going to have an adventure in putting together the app.

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