I received free entry to The Gasparilla Lime Challenge as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
This is my first time in the three years that I have participated in the Gasparilla Distance Classic that I did something other than the half marathon. I really wanted to do a challenge because they get a snazzy jacket but I also wanted to do something different. I was eying up the Lime Challenge when Bibrave said…”Hey wanna do Gasparilla” and I was like “heck yea I do” and I clicked register! The Lime challenge is the 15K on Saturday and the 8K on Sunday.
15K and expo
I decided to hit the expo first thing on Friday when they opened. I didn’t want to deal with crazy, downtown lunch traffic or post-work traffic. Thankfully it opens at 10am!
Straight up, I love expos, especially race expos. I mean, I’ve driven to Disney just to go to the race expo even though I’m not running the race. I feel like I discover so many new products and such! Which was the case here also! Kombucha, Madjool dates, Vice Cream, Peanut butter! Ok, so most of this expo was food for me but the last expo I left with a bunch of recovery products that are awesome!
A perk to me of the 15K and the 8K was the swag! The half marathon always has a long-sleeved shirt (which my husband loves) I however LOVE that the 15K and 8K have short-sleeved race shirts. When you do any of the challenges you get a sweet jacket!
15K Race Day
The race has 2 waves, 6:45am start for anyone running under 1:30 and 6:50am start for anyone running over 1:30. We started in wave 2. I was super jazzed because I found out on Thursday that my running buddy Danielle was running the 15K also and had no real plan for running! With the heat warnings up our very impressive goal was to finish without needing a medical tent!
We got in towards the back of the corral, set our watches to a 1:1 interval, and set out to have a great time! I will say, this is the most fun I’ve had at a race in ages! We caught up with life and everything that was going on. We did some people watching, enjoyed the sunrise, and a nice steady pace.
At around mile 5 we saw the 15mm pace group a little ways in front of us. We had obviously started behind them. We made it our goal to pass them and finish before they did! Which we achieved by mile 7! Which was right around where we saw friends cheering! Which is another great part about all of the Gasparilla races! CROWD SUPPORT!
There are lots of people and groups out cheering all along Bayshore Blvd. Lots of music, teams, groups, volunteers! It is great!
They had plenty of water and Gatorade out on the course, in addition to entertainment. Around mile 8 Danielle says to me that she wants to finish in 2:15:00 or under. oh NOW you tell me! Ok, you wanna do it let’s do it!
We pretty much averaged a 14.30mm the whole time. For the last mile we averaged a 14mm pace. Which brought us in right at 2:15! It was hot and humid but we got it done and had an amazing time!
As we crossed the finish line Meb Keflezighi was there high fiving everyone as they came in. I didn’t realize it was him because as a friend put it “he was a ninja in an old-man hat” all weekend!
The finish line area was much improved this year! You finish and they hand you a SUPER COLD washcloth as you walk a little ways up to where they have water bottle and Gatorade. Then you keep walking to pickup your medal. Then photo areas right after. It is never over crowded and you never feel like you are being ushered away.
Then you walk around to the other-side of the convention center to get post-race food and such. On our way there we saw the new Dick’s Sporting Goods P “arrrrrh” bell (get it, Pirates, Arrr)! It was our first time on this course (and I thought it was my first 15K) which gave us an automatic PR, so we hopped in for photos!
After food we were walking back towards the start area of the 5K (and our cars) when we saw Meb was taking photos in the PR booth! So we hopped in for another
Again, I can’t recommend this race enough! It is well organized, excellently executed, and a great race! It has beautiful scenery, awesome medals every year, and lots of support! Danielle and I have already agreed to do the 15K together next year and shoot for a sub-2!
Tune in tomorrow from my review of the 8K and part 2 of the Lime Challenge. You can also check out my race review on Bibrave by clicking here