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Build Your Own 10K: The Ravenswood Run and Phi Delta Chi 5K

My running hair could use a little work
The Tough Mudder is only a few weeks away and in terms of half marathon training (the Tough Mudder is only "10-12 miles" but I figure I should be able to at least do a half to compensate for the obstacles and the mud) I was supposed to run 11 miles today. I didn't do that. But I did do a little bit of what could be considered interval training (with a little imaginative considering).

Making use of Chicago's crowded spring running calendar I scheduled two 5Ks back-to-back, leaving enough time to run from one to the other:

Ravenswood Run (Hermitage and Wilson): 8:00am
Phi Delta Chi 5K (Montrose Harbor): 9:30am

Luckily, the first race started only about a mile from my house so I met my friend John at his place down the street at 7:30 and we jogged over to the starting line to get a little warm up in. As with most races put on by Fleet Feet, the gear check was easy, the corral system was clear and the takeoff was smooth. My full review of the Ravenswood Run is up at

Running through a blocked-off Lincoln Square

I experimented with a (very) little interval training this week and I think it actually helped. I felt good the whole race and finished with a 22:44, which is on the faster end of my 5K times and a lot faster than I've been running lately (but still not quite fast enough to be in the top 10% of finishers for this popular race).

Photo taken by controlled drone (I wish)
I missed this race last year so this was the first time I've run the course through Lincoln Square and it's definitely a nice addition to an already fun neighborhood run. I didn't pay the extra $10 for the pancake breakfast but I'm sure that was tasty - it seems like a lot of money for pancakes... and also I had to get to another race.

Before I left though I got a free 10-minute sports massage from Molly Coeling. She and another massage therapist were there for the Fleet Feet No Boundaries group but they were nice enough to let me slip in and get a massage as long as I promised to hop up if anyone from the No Boundaries group came over while I was there.

I told her about my IT-band injury from last year and she worked over my left side pretty well. Definitely something I needed done before I headed to the second race (and just in general). Luckily no one from No Boundaries came over while I was there so I got the full massage. 

I grabbed a bottle of water and started down Wilson to jog the mile and a half to Montrose Harbor for the next race. I did wish I could grab one of the cinnamon rolls that they were passing out as post-race food - but that wouldn't have been a great idea before the next race. Passing by the gear check I was glad I had grabbed my stuff right after finishing because the line was starting to get a little long (for a race this size, it's expected).
Gear check after the Ravenswood Run
As it had been threatening to all morning, as I was making my way to Montrose Harbor it started to rain. Luckily it wasn't much of a rain - just a light drizzle. I ducked under an awning and waited for a few minutes and it lightened up so I kept going. 

I got to the basecamp for the Phi Delta Chi 5K at around 9:15 and picked up my bib and t-shirt (a plain cotton shirt, but a nice one). This race is only in its second year and is pretty small so gear check consisted of a little covered tent with one dude in it - it looked like he was tasked with seeing after about five bags - but he did so diligently. Thanks for watching my stuff bro.
Clear skies after the race: gear check is the little green tent on the right
Anyway, it rained a little bit more before the start of the race but never broke into a full-on downpour, and after the race started (with a siren sound off of a little battery-operated megaphone) the sky cleared up and the sun came out, making for a much warmer (and more pleasant) race. My full review is up at

Because this race was so small I was able to stick pretty close to the leaders the whole time which was exciting. I never had a chance of catching them but it was cool to see them just ahead of me:
I passed one of these guys before the end of the race and ended up in 6th place
Despite the fact that this is a very small race on an open course it was well-coordinated with plenty of volunteers (all actually excited to be there) and a water station that you ran through twice (it was an out-and-back). As I mentioned in my Newcity review, the second mile marker was in the wrong place so when I passed it and looked at my watch to see 13 minutes, I thought I was flying... but when I finished with a 22:37 (by my watch - I don't know my official time yet)* I realized that the second mile marker was just misplaced. That's unfortunate but at least the course wasn't short, which would have been worse.

Phi Delta Chi 5K finish line
After finishing I grabbed about three bagels from the bags of Einstein Bagels that they had under a food/drink tent (one half bagel at a time so I could fool myself into thinking I wasn't just stuffing my face), grabbed another bottle of water and was getting ready to jog home when I saw a Divvy station and thought about how much easier that would be than trying to run another three miles. So I caved and took a Divvy - it was definitely the right decision.

So I didn't get my full 11 miles in (by a long shot) but I at least got a good 10K in - with a little jogging break in the middle. The fact that I was able to do this is another reason why I love the Chicago racing season.

*Update: official time 22:36. Also, first in my age group... but there weren't a lot of people in my age group...


  1. Congrats on running back-to-back 5ks. Back-to-back races for me means two races on consecutive weekends! They should hold a "Ravenswood/Phi Delta Chi" challenge and give medals for lowest aggregate times for both races!

    1. I would definitely like to see more of that kind of combo stuff. The Ridge Run Challenge is the closest I can think of to something like that - they do a 10K and then a 5K an hour later. But I don't think they actually do any awards for fastest combined times. They definitely should!

  2. That's a fun concept that you did of pairing together multiple races! I'd love to try that some day!


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