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TV appearances aside, the Ironman Lake Tahoe cancelation was a major letdown following a long season of training. I had lofty, but realistic goals of running a sub-4 hour Ironman marathon and ultimately breaking 12 hours – provided I nailed my strategy. I will never know what could have been that day at IMLT. Instead, I took a page out of my other race mishap this year – Wildflower Long Course, and registered for another “redemption race” – Skyline to Sea marathon.

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Taylor and I are fresh off an amazing weekend in Utah, and we were lucky enough to run North Face Park City 13.1. Between the altitude (almost 10,000′), the ribbons of single-track peppered with rocks/roots, and the elevation gain (~3400), it was a slog to say the least, but it was a great way to prepare for my marathon this weekend.

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Skyline to Sea starts at roughly 2500′ and descends all the way down to sea level. Although there are some climbing sections – the course features over 2000′ of elevation gain, it’s net downhill and should make for a fast race as long as I can find stable footing. My goal is simple: 4 hours or bust.

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Setting pace goals for the trail is always tricky, but given the elevation profile and my propensity for running downhill, I’m gunning for a fast finish. My current trail marathon PR is a 4:11 on a course with over 4000′ of climbing, and my speed has improved substantially since then. Either way, Skyline to Sea will be a great training race for North Face 50 miler in December – not to mention Mt. Tam 50K next month. No smoke, no altitude, and no excuses on Saturday.

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