Gasparilla Lime Cactus Challenge Race Recap- Day 1

Gasparilla Lime Cactus challenge was a big one for me.  This challenge included back to back runs and I have never run more than 2 5K’s back to back.  I have always been a huge fan of the Gasparilla run.  If the idea of pirates, February in Florida, live music, and huge expo with 32,000 other runners doesn’t sound like fun to you, well I just don’t know what is wrong with you then!

Until this year I was a Gasparilla 5K runner.  Yup, I have run it 3 times.  It holds a special spot in my heart.  When I started running in 2013 I started with the Couch to 5K program.  Gasparilla was my 1st 5K that I ran the whole thing!! I was floating on cloud nine!

Fast forward to 2017, I am still training with Coach M, running new races, trying new distances and yes, that includes the Gasparilla Lime Cactus Challenge!  Packet pick up was super easy.  The expo is huge!  That had a special table set up for the challenge runners and I was able to pick up everything at one time.  Easy peasy!

Day one:  15K with a start time of 6:45 am.  That means a super early race morning for me.  NO problems, we hit the road early, easy downtown race day parking and we had plenty of time to pee.  You know that is important!  The fog was horrible that morning and the temperature hovered in the low 60’s but the humidity stuck at 97%!  The run is a straight out and back along the beautiful Bayshore boulevard.  After a few announcements and some special awards given to runners that have run this event every year for the last 40 years (WOW!) – we took off!

You know the first half of the race is always the easiest.  There were 5512 runners for the 15K and it was a little crowded at first but then it shook out nicely.  The run down the boulevard is beautiful with all the fancy homes to look at and the water on the left.  This race gets tons of course support and fans.  The water/Gatorade stations are very well manned and radio stations had tents set up along the course pumping out tunes and cheering runners on.

The last half of this course is the toughest.  We did a turn around and ran right back the way we came.  If I could have gotten my sweaty $20 out of my pocket I could not have bought a breeze! I reminded myself I did not start this run off with the intention of a PR today.  Nope, survival was the plan and lots of bling!  As you can see, I was happy to cross that line!  1:44:28  192/384 in my age group – top half- I can live with it!  AVG HR 166

The expo is open on Friday and Saturday.  I drove over on Friday to pick up the packets but waited to explore the expo on Saturday after the 15K with my BRF, Belinda.  There were tons of vendors and great giveaways!  I love the running towels that Publix gave out, that is always a favorite.  Check out this wall!  If you look closely it has all the runners names on it!  Pretty cool, I would say.

Belinda and I grabbed a quick picture outside and quickly decided we needed a proper breakfast, you know one that included a mimosa!  The Marriott provided the perfect place.  I am not sure if they were just nice to the runners that morning or gave us the lovely table outside because we smelled bad.  Don’t care, the french toast was the BOMB! and it was definitely the best mimosa I had tasted since Christmas!

Hands down, a fun race!  More to come with the Gasparilla Lime Cactus Challenge day two!  Come back!  Have you put this race on your bucket list yet?  


42 Responses so far.

  1. Kimberly G says:

    This sounds like a great race. this is a race I would definitely run every year if I lived there!
    Kimberly G recently posted…My First Cycle for Survival ExperienceMy Profile

  2. Oh this race sounds like fun and I like the distances! We have a pirate theme race coming up that a friend and I are considering.
    I would feel guilty coming to FL that weekend and NOT running the Disney
    Nice job MB!

  3. 3 5Ks in a row! Eek! Talk about tired legs later! Nice work!!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…Half Marathon Race Day TipsMy Profile

  4. Teresa says:

    Sounds like fun! I may just have to make a trip to south Florida next year …especially if there will be mimosas involved! 🙂
    Teresa recently posted…Run thru History 10k Recap ~ Vicksburg, MsMy Profile

  5. Rachel says:

    This sounds like so much fun! And how incredible some of the runners had participated for 40 years!!
    Rachel recently posted…Comment on 13.1 Tips and Tricks for Your Best Race Day by Sandra LaflammeMy Profile

  6. Looks like you had such a fun time! You always look so happy while you are running. Can’t wait to hear how the second half went
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Planning My Race ScheduleMy Profile

  7. This makes me want to do in next year even more, wait is that possible? I sure hope the medals look just as cool as they do this year!

  8. Jenn says:

    I am hoping to run Gasparilla next year. Maybe in conjunction with the DONNA events… you know, go for the whole Treasured Chest LOL! Because it all sounds so incredibly fun!

    Great race! I can’t wait to hear more!
    Jenn recently posted…race report: march to get screened 5k run/walk {3.5.2017}My Profile

  9. Yes. This is definitely on my bucket list…maybe for 2018 😉
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…When in Florida….Sombrero Beach Run 10KMy Profile

  10. Angela says:

    Way to go! I loved seeing your photos on Instagram 🙂 I would love to do this race same day!!

  11. Marcia says:

    How fun this was your first 5k! What a great one! You know this has been on my bucket list for eons.
    Marcia recently posted…#Spring4Prana and Go Back to Your BreathMy Profile

  12. I’ve always wanted to do Gasparilla–maybe next year will be the year!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Are You a Raceplanner? Or a Racecrastinator?My Profile

  13. What a fun race! I’ve never done a challenge like this and wonder if my body would freak out… but I want to try!
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Healthy Honey Cinnamon Banana Bread MuffinsMy Profile

  14. Anne Kepner says:

    This race sounds so great. I would 100% take part in this race if it is organized in my hometown. Good luck to you for Gasparilla Lime Cactus Challenge day 2 ^^
    Anne Kepner recently posted…Top 5 Best Under Desk Elliptical Reviews 2017My Profile

  15. Gasparilla has always been one on my list because I have heard such great things about it.
    Abby @BackatSquareZero recently posted…Loving Lately – February 2017My Profile

  16. Darlene says:

    How fun. I would love to run this. And I want a mimosa when I finish a race!!
    Darlene recently posted…TOLT: Weather, Training, Racing, etc.My Profile

  17. This race sounds like one big party – SO fun! Now the weather sounds super challenging but you did it!!! Now a mimosa, I’ve never had one before. They were probably a tasty reward after a hot, sweaty run!
    Amy @ Life to the Full recently posted…Frozen Energy Bites to Fuel Your TrainingMy Profile

  18. What a fun race theme! I’ve heard so many people speak so positively about this race weekend. I’d love to be able to run it one day.
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…My Goals for Saturday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half MarathonMy Profile

  19. Awesome recap! Thanks for sharing your race experience! Congrats on getting your first medal. 🙂

    Whether they were being really nice or you smelled like a sweaty runner, either way, you can’t beat being seated outside when the weather’s nice!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…You! Call 911 And Bring The AED!My Profile

  20. Very cool! Gasparilla was my second race ever – the 15K! I did a 5K Turkey Trot in Clearwater the fall before and then trained for that 15K, and then decided to do the marathon the next year. The rest is history…!
    Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?! recently posted…13.1 Half Marathon Race Day TipsMy Profile

  21. This sound so fun! I love themed races 🙂
    Patty @ Reach Your Peak recently posted…6 Half Marathon Race Day TipsMy Profile

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About MB

I am a wife, mother, stepmother, working healthcare financial professional and a 5K enthusiast! I love to travel, try new products, meet new friends, eat great food and drink great wine! Why not run around the world in my tutu and tennies?
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