Athlete Race Recap: Philadelphia Distance Run

Posted On:
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Updated On:
Monday, September 18, 2023
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I've been known to tell athletes who I coach that they must check in with me right after their race otherwise I will assume that they are either in the medical tent or dead. Leslie provided excellent proof of life and finisher status. Finished AND not in the ambulance! :D

Leslie Smith traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to run the Philadelphia Distance Run on Saturday, September 17, 2023!

As many people know, Philadelphia played an important role in the birth of the United States.  It served at the nation’s capital while Washington, D.C. was being built, the Declaration of Independence was signed there, and (most notably for this race) was the birthplace of the United States Constitution 236 years ago on September 17, 1787.  Yes, this year’s Philadelphia Distance Run took place on Constitution Day and I just knew that this was a good sign for Leslie!

Leslie broke her humerus over the summer (it really wasn’t humorous ;) ) and took her recovery from that injury really seriously.  She was extremely compliant with her doctors and physical therapists, and she didn’t run for six weeks.  Once she was cleared to run, we started building her running fitness back with a real focus on Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE).  Attempting to channel my inner Yoda, I told Leslie that she must “unlearn what she had learned” and not let pace be her North Star in running.

Leslie really focused on not obsessing over her watch data in her runs, which led her to have some really high-quality training sessions.  All of this set her up for a great race in Philadelphia.  When race day came, I told Leslie to “let the result come to her and not try to control the result.”  Leslie once again ran without looking at her watch and had a marvelous half marathon that gives us a very real picture of where she is.  Now, we can chart a course in her training to help her get where she wants to go in her running and racing.

Congratulations, Leslie!


Coach Laura Henry

Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.

She can be reached at

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