Pseudo Skunk 13.1 Brief "Race" Report

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.


@Petorius, what a lovely report—thank you! I’m glad to hear you liked the course, the Ellis Hollow hill at mile 9 notwithstanding, and that it’s so similar to the real Skunk in distance and elevation gain. And it’s great that RunGo was 100% successful. My experience with it has been similar—when it suggests a turn is coming in 37 seconds, it usually happens sooner than that, but the warning is all you need.

As I’ve noted in the rules, for any course other than the East Hill Rec Way, you can run it in either direction. And I suppose that since Pseudo Skunk is nearly a figure 8, it could be run in all sorts of different ways (clockwise or counter-clockwise on each of the two loops, though some might require a little backtracking). They’re all legit, and we’ll have to see which variant proves the fastest.

Now I’m anxious to get my mileage up so I can try this course myself!

Dang, I forgot we can choose the direction of the loops or I would’ve run it backwards yesterday. Next time!

When RunGo alerted me at each mile marker, it was off by a bit from what my watch was measuring. During the run I figured the watch was off due to signal strength or lack thereof, but now I realize RunGo thought I was a few hundred meters behind where I actually was. At the finish my watch and RunGo were in sync distance-wise.

Just ran the course as my long run as well to scout what it is going to be like. It is a tough one! The rolling hills beat me up all the way through though that might have more to do with yesterday’s Mt. Pleasant adventure more than anything else. I think it’ll be fun to see what I can run on a fast day when I’m in better shape - I would be shocked if I can go sub-80.

Distance on Strava: Start to finish I got 13.03 so I kept going inside the parking lot till I hit 13.09 (you can see that tiny 0.06 bit in the parking lot). I assume these are just differences running tangents.

Logistics: I agree with @Petorius that having chalk signs (especially on the turn from Rt 79 to Ellis Hollow and perhaps the right on Thomas) would be useful.

@adamengst thanks for the reminder this course can be ran in any direction. It will be fun to experiment!

@vedgund great to “meet” you on the course today (as you cruised past me :joy:).

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I gave the virtual Skunk a go today, thankful for the warmer (35°?) weather, and appreciate the challenge since it was the longest distance for me in many months.

HOWEVER disaster struck at the end. I ran with contacts instead of glasses, and I’m extremely challenged reading a smart phone. I thought I was hitting the right button to take a scan at the end, but now the WebScorer says the correct start time and “DNS” for the race, despite having a picture of the QR code in the app. Does anyone know how to manually edit the result, or post Strava GPS result to WebScorer? I tried and cannot figure out the app or website (and I’m supposed to be computer-literate!). It’s not as if I’m in the “running” for the standings since my time was about 2:21:00, but I’d like to get on the board.

Kudos to Adam and the gang for organizing this, and the mile markers were a special touch. And Heather, wonderful to see you on the course this morning!

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Great to see you out there too, Matt! It was nice to catch up for a few moments across the road. :blush:

And YES you can record your time if you ran without your phone or you were unable to scan the code (which is your case). Go to the FLRC Challenge webpage and scroll down about 1/3 to get to the instructions on how to manually record your time.

All is not lost!

Heather, thank you! I made the change and posted from within the WebScorer app. The start time is stuck at the current time and cannot be changed, and I just posted an ending time that won’t occur for another two hours, which may violate the space-time continuum. At least I’m on finally on the board, and perhaps will try that route again someday. One bit of advice to others is to perhaps start much earlier than I did (10am) because of the mid-morning traffic.

I don’t know what the rules are about marking public roads—perhaps someone like @AlexK or @Mr_Hector knows from their Skunk experience. Chalk probably wouldn’t be an issue but wouldn’t last long either. If it was OK, we could work up a nice stencil.

It was great to hear from @heathercobb3 that she saw multiple people on the course today. We may not be able to gather in large groups, but fly-bys are fun too. We’ll have to come up with a Challenge greeting. :slight_smile:

@mclark, I hope you got your time entered properly—I see it on the leaderboard. I’ll have to add something to the FLRC Challenge rules that it’s OK to violate the laws of space-time when you’re editing your runs.

Great meeting you too @heathercobb3 ! It was a great day to run the course. Looking forward to more of the courses opening up in coming weeks :smiley:

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@Petorius Thanks for the report! Yes, the GPS was spot on for my first and came up shorter my second, so I ran past the start until my watch hit. I like the 4/1 idea. Also, even more so, I would love to connect with you or others who are familiar with the various trails once they open up to get some of the initial ones in. Always nice to run them once with folks familiar. Regarding @adamengst 's reminder on the course direction – wow, I’m trying to imagine the difference of running down ellis hollow. I don’t think I am trying to optimize a figure eight, but an overall directional difference might be fun to change things up eventually since the challenge will be happening for a while. Nice to see so many runs added to the board!

The Frolic, Danby, and Thom B courses are all basically the same as the races, and the Tortoise follows the race course minus a mile of flat field trail at the beginning. When those courses open, maybe we could meet up for a run-through. Nice job on the casual looking 1:29:07 for the HM!

I very much hope that people will organize small groups for navigational run-throughs (or even race-like throw-downs!) with others who run similar paces. The leaderboard results should reveal who’s running roughly similar times, and most everyone will be available here in the forum, since I’m inviting anyone who signs up for the Challenge but isn’t already on the forum.

As a hint, note that all tables on the leaderboard are sortable—just click the column header—so you can easily rearrange any table to show people who are near your pace, on your team, and more.

That would be awesome. I’ve only done Tortoise & Hare and Forest Frolic (but wouldn’t remember them at all), and also haven’t ran Danby or Thom B either. And thanks much (definitely not casual) and same to you! Although I’m awaiting all the speedsters to simply do their long slow runs on the course and start taking over the boards. But this has been great for motivation to get a harder run in here and there. Our virtual running community. And good suggestion @adamengst on the pace matching.

I don’t know Aaron, I think you have a good chance to place pretty well overall. The points look simple now with only two courses, but to do well overall, people will have to run all ten courses and lay down a fast time on each one of them. That might sound easy, but my guess is that it will be more challenging than it seems.

And of course, the Best Average and Most Runs metrics will get more interesting once we get further into the year with more courses open and more people running more often.

Thanks Adam. I meant to say board, for that particular course. Agreed, there are still enough different ways of counting things to be interesting overall (especially over the year!) for everyone. And looking forward to seeing how new courses change things up.