I made my debut at the Pseudo Skunk 13.1 on Tuesday afternoon, carrying my phone and using the RunGo App to follow the route and get familiar with it. The snowy shoulders made it tricky to dodge traffic and move forward at the same time, but I tend to enjoy running Ithaca’s backroads throughout the winter and have gotten used to it. Much obliged to @adamengst for putting that Turkey Hill mini climb in the second mile (instead of mile 10 like in the actual HM race), but curse him for the grind up Ellis Hollow starting around mile 9. Notable scenery included that new looking, bright red phone booth in someone’s front yard near the corner of Ellis Hollow and Hunt Hill, and a car parked in the middle of the damn road on Ellis Hollow where people drive 50+ mph around blind curves. The RunGo voice cues lagged by 10-15 seconds, but were 100% accurate and made it super easy to follow the route without thinking about it much.
I had such a blast running Pseudo Skunk on Tuesday that I went back again on Wednesday for another go. I had a few hours to kill after work and before picking up the kids from daycare and couldn’t think of anything better to do. With temps in the low 50s, most of the snow, ice, and slush had melted off the shoulder of the roads, so the running was much easier and more enjoyable. I don’t think Ithaca’s had a day this nice for running since November.
On Wednesday’s run, a massive wind to the northwest made the run down Thomas Road slow and miserable, but I got a nice tailwind boost heading back up Ellis Hollow from 79. I enjoyed the shorts-and-tee-shirt-in-February aspect and left my phone in the car, manually entering my correct time afterward. After destroying my quads on some hill repeats over the weekend, I was in no position to run fast and compete with @aaronking32’s benchmark time. I’ll give it a better effort sometime in the next few weeks, but for now I’m enjoying a rest day.
I think it would be fun to get a group out there the morning of April 4—the day the Skunk Cabbage race would normally be run. I (or anyone that’s tech savvy) could give a brief tutorial on the self-timing at the start for anyone new to the concept, and I could try to get out early and spray arrows at the turns so people can follow the course without carrying their phones.
A few course metrics: Over the two runs, I recorded 13.10 and 13.08 miles with my Suunto 9. The RunGo app measures exactly 13.1. Due to fluxuations in the GPS signal, running tangents, and variability in rounding curves, it’s rare that I record anything so close to the advertised distance. Suunto gave me 461 and 507 feet of gain, but I know from running some tests on the watch that it always shorts me on the vert. When loaded to Strava, I got 838 and 837 feet, which might be an overestimate, but is probably closer to the actual amount. Descent is the same as ascent since the start and finish are in the same spot. Strava typically gives me 750 - 800 feet for the actual Skunk course, so the elevation change is about the same even though Pseudo Skunk feels like a lot more.