Boston Marathon 2023 Race Prep & Recap -By Athlete Ambassador Samantha Simpson

Summer is here yet many trails are still reminding us of all the snow Anchorage saw this winter. While most Alaskans were out enjoying snow sports, I was training for the 127th Boston Marathon, which took place on April 17. This would be my 2nd Boston, the first was run only a year earlier in 2022, though my training experiences between these two years were so wildly different. 

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Prep for 2022 was certainly marked by many dark and snowy runs, but I was able to get some time on pavement before the big day. However, in 2023 there was no pavement to be had in Anchorage until I returned from Boston. Running on snow is rough even in normal or light snow years, and I’d be lying if I said this year’s build didn’t sometimes make me question my athletic pursuits . To get through it, I made sure to supplement outdoor running with the treadmill or Dome, an occasional ski or fat bike ride, and of course my first love in sports: ice hockey. I also went to see the experts at Runners’ Edge often to address any problem areas or simply for preventative maintenance.

While my 2022 efforts saw big PRs in the half and full marathon, 2023 was marked by a couple unanticipated setbacks and starting over. Therefore, my goal for Boston this year was to get to the start line healthy, enjoy everything the iconic race has to offer, and finish with the durability to continue training through summer (after a short break of course). I am fortunate to be working with an amazing coach that supports listening to both physical and mental fatigue and adjusting as necessary. My Boston build began at the end of January with a 25-mile week, and my peak week before the taper was 42 miles. As someone who’s been running marathons for 8 years these numbers may sound light, but they worked for me. Aside from one speed session each week, all other runs were at an easy pace or effort, which for me personally was the best way to avoid burnout when running through lots of snow this year. This was important because Boston would be my second of six marathons in 2023, so staying healthy AND excited for the sport would be critical (stay tuned for more on the upcoming marathons…).

 

Suddenly it’s mid-April and I’m in Boston. After some spaghetti with meat sauce and laying out my race kit the night before, on the rainy morning of April 17 I’m ready to rock. I was lucky that a friend of mine was running her first Boston, so we rode the yellow school bus together from Boston Common to Hopkinton and I made it my personal goal to be her hype girl during the race. The 26.2 miles were everything I expected and more: I was completely moved at the number of people that came out to spectate 30,000 strangers in the rain, my right hand was on fire from giving out a million high fives, and my throat was sore from excitedly hollering to spectators and other runners. My friend and I crossed the finish line in 4:06, holding hands in the air with emotional smiles. Passion and perseverance – this is what chasing the unicorn is all about

After returning home and taking a week of rest post-Boston, I was rewarded with long days, clear pavement, and muddy trails, and motivated to start building for what’s to come. 

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Samantha Simpson

Runners’ Edge Athlete Ambassador since 2022

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