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localeikki--the birth of a start up

A blog about the life of a travel & health start-up. The active traveler's solution: a crowd-sourced database to find & share great places to be active on the road, or close to home. Join our growing community!

True North

26 September 2015 | 7:00 am

A lot of things changed at localeikki over the past few months.  While I believe they are positive long-term changes, they still had a toll on the company's momentum and at times my state of being.  I swung back & forth between "hell, yes!" to "WTF is it all for?" more times than a playground swing, and when I should have been running to clear the head, I instead closed myself in. For some reason the past couple of weeks have been particularly hard, and then I saw this infographic from the National Parks and Recreation Association

In particular, the Parks Have Health Power statistic was a reminder to me of our "True North": increased access to places for physical activity leads to a 25% increase in people exercising 3 or more days a week.

As we say in our pitch materials, helping people stay active isn’t just a nice-ity—it’s a necessity.  The World Health Organization reports that over 30% of the world population is insufficiently active, and this inactivity is attributable to 3.2 million deaths annually worldwide.  

We can achieve our goal of increasing access to information on parks, trails and paths, so people can find what's nearby easily & get moving, but we can't do it alone.  

How can you help?

  1. Keep adding great information to localeikki on where to be active, in your community and beyond
  2. Become a local ambassador: step up your localeikki brag for some localeikki swag
  3. Join our team: we're looking for some rockstars in tech and marketing
  4. Invest in health 

Contact me for more information

- Tracy

Late night confessions of an entrepreneur

25 September 2015 | 3:12 pm

Every startup founder questions what they're doing, particularly when the path is not smooth or straight (i.e., most of the time!).  The gremlins in your head can take over. A few weeks ago mine were quite strong, waking me up in the middle of the night with a start.  After a brief attempt to go back to sleep, I decided to get out of bed and "name them." Calling them out took away some of their power, and having this list as a journal entry gives me something to look back at as a sanity check when (not if) they rear their ugly little heads again. Presenting...

"Late night confessions of an entrepreneur"

- fail
- give up
- get a job
- why continue?
- marathon
- this sucks
- so lonely
- validation
- worth
- doubt
- loss of meaning/purpose
- drive 
- passion
- fake it
- believe in it
- why
- why?
- who cares?
- starting over
- energy
- purpose
- vision
- do you want this?
- what is "this"?
- believe in me
- team
- build
- scared
- distracted
- focus
- fired up
- fire still burning

localeikki is looking for an online community/social media intern!

13 August 2015 | 10:40 am

Do you like running, health & fitness?  Have you ever experienced the challenges of staying active when traveling?  If you answered yes to these questions, then you understand the pain point localeikki is tackling.  Our goal is to help people be active every day, everywhere.  Knowing where to go, how to get there and committing it to your schedule is more than half the battle of being regularly active, particularly when in an unfamiliar place.  Our platform of information, connections, and services is designed to help people plan exercise into their day.  

localeikki’s growing database of places for running & walking, crowdsourced by and for the active lifestyle community, currently spans all major U.S. metropolitan areas.  Detailed descriptions, ratings, and imagery on resources such as trails, multi-use paths and community parks enable individuals to make an informed choice on where to be active in communities across the country.  localeikki’s database of content is currently accessible via our iOS app and website.

We are an early stage start-up in the San Francisco Bay Area.  We are looking for an online community/social media intern that can help us:

- Grow & engage our online community via social media channels (we’re currently active on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook) 
- Identify & engage influencers
- Manage our existing ambassador network
- Contribute ideas & content to our newsletter and/or blog
- Run simple analytics reports
- Help establish a social media strategy and publishing schedule/calendar

For more information, please contact Founder/CEO Tracy McMillan at tracy@localeikki.com.  You can also learn more about us at www.localeikki.com 

Let's all run in circles (or ovals, more accurately!)

9 June 2015 | 10:11 am

Let me jump right into my Call to Action, in case you read no further:

Community tracks, or more likely school district tracks that allow public access, are a critical physical activity resource.  While the traveling runner loves finding them when they need to do a workout, they are--more importantly--the only safe place to walk/run in many communities, particularly early in the morning or late in the day.  

Too often, however, these resources for community health are kept under lock & key 24/7.  Having done academic research on the topic and participated on a committee to get tracks paid for with public dollars open again to said public, I know school districts’ common arguments for this policy (liability & student safety are two primary positions).  Those arguments come from a place of fear and finances, and are in keeping with our society’s propensity to overreact to the rare event while ignoring that which is pervasive around us: in this case, poor community health.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), insufficient physical activity is 1 of the 10 leading risk factors for death worldwide.  In the United States, less than half of all adults meet the guidelines for physical activity.  More alarming is that globally, over 80% of adolescents are insufficiently active.  Both the CDC and the WHO state that lack of access to parks, sidewalks, trails and recreation facilities contribute to this public health issue (which is what we’re trying to change with localeikki!).

There are many solutions to the access issue being implemented in communities today, from public hours when school is not in session to joint-use agreements between school districts and municipalities.  Do you know the policy in your community?  If your local track isn’t open to the public, find out why and let’s work to change that, for the health of your community, and the global community.

PS: Here are some great tracks open to the public that you can find on localeikki!

Kezar Stadium Track, San Francisco, CA
East River Park Track, New York, NY
North Park Track, Chicago, IL

Seeking true innovation

24 April 2015 | 5:48 am

There is no better medicine on the planet than physical activity. It gives us energy, clarity, mental and physical strength.  Our bodies carry us forward, exploring new places and new boundaries within ourselves.  The health benefits of physical activity are too numerous to list, yet as a society (particularly in the U.S.) we make it SO hard for people to be active every day.  Less than half of all adults in the United States meet the physical activity guidelines. We create barriers for them such as inflexible work schedules and policies that confine us to a space; societal norms that suggest we should always place the needs of others ahead of ourselves (particularly women); and a physical environment that in many places is hostile to people moving by their own power.

While there are plenty of tools, programs and services out there for people that are already active, I would argue that true innovation is lacking on helping people become active.  That requires real change--societal, physical, cultural--which is hard.  But how does the saying go?  If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Dare to Dream

9 February 2015 | 4:00 pm

There it was, staring me in the face:

As I sat thumbing through my Believe I Am journal in the early morning hours of a day at the beginning of 2015, all I kept seeing was the statement "Dare to Dream." Perhaps that is how Ro & Lauren intended it.  I haven't asked.  All I can tell you is that it worked.  My mind wandered back to my recommitment declaration at the end of 2014 and I thought about who was absent from that "recommitment commitment" -- myself. Along with the many others I had noted, I had neglected myself, in particular my physical and mental health, and that had to stop.  With the inspiring words from Believe I Am to bolster me, I wrote down the goal that has lived within me unspoken for some time: complete an ultra.  Then, before doubt could creep in, I took the next step by emailing the authority on ultra running--Ian Torrence, McMillan Running's awesome ultra coach.

After a flurry of emails, race calendar consultation and submitting my athlete questionnaire, I received an email from Ian with a subject line that represented my race choice and the beginning of my journey into the ultra world: "Welcome to the Rodeo."

Now entering the fourth week of what I half-jokingly called my Couch to 50k training plan (see above reference to "neglected myself"), I know this is exactly what I needed.  The training has just begun and there are (much) longer runs ahead.  However, in everything I do, I am now refocused, recommitted & re-energized.

 - Tracy

"There's always the possibility of a fiasco.  But there's also the possibility of bliss" 
- Joseph Campbell