The Beast Blog has Moved!

Posted: May 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Beast Blog has moved over to the WICU/WSEE station website. I’ll still be updating every week with a post and pictures from my sessions! Don’t miss it… keep up with me here.

beast logo


Live Action!

Posted: April 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

Check out my story for WICU tonight on channel 12… We brought the cameras in the sand pit to give you an up close look at how I’m training.

Catch the coverage at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.!

The story is now up on the web, watch it here.

So the Barber Beast on the Bay trial run was this past weekend, and it got me incredibly pumped up for the big day! Unfortunately I had to work, so I couldn’t run the shortened three mile test version, but I was there to cover it for WICU/WSEE so I still got a taste of what it will be like. Here’s one of the biggest obstacles you’ll see on race day. It looked like it was near impossible to make it all the way up yourself using the ropes, so teamwork was key. It was great to see everyone working together and helping out people they’d never event met. Just one of the great things about this event!


This week was a landmark event in my training– my first time in the sand pit! This is what I got to play in:

sand pit

It’s part of Executive Personal Fitness, right out back. Up until this point I’d only heard of it’s existence… but after my session I can say I have become very well acquainted with it (sand in the shoes, mouth, shirt, hair). There are a thousand reasons to train on the sand before the race… number one is because running in sand is WAY harder than running on pavement or gravel! I’d never actually run on sand before, except maybe on the beach trying to get to my towel to escape the hot sand.

I started the workout with a warmup of jogging around the sand pit, to get used to the feeling of how the sand moves under my feet. Lisa gave me a good tip to start off: run forward. You want it to be more of a forward glide, rather than picking your knees and feet up really high, because that’ll just make you dig into the sand harder, making it more difficult to progress forward and making you exert more energy (and you’re going to need all the energy you can get for the next 11 miles).

One of the first sand circuits started with a full out sprint and side to side shuffle (basketball style) to get used to changing position quickly in the sand.

sprint 2

Then I continued the sprint over to a big wooden box, for 15 pushups. It was so much harder than I thought it would be to get through those pushups when I was already fatigued from sprinting, I really felt it in the abs! I did the circuit five times.

pushup 1  pushup 2

Something you might not think you need to get used to for race day is getting dirty. If you’re going to run 12 miles, crawl and fall in the sand, you can’t let the discomfort get to you. I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but after doing burpees, bear crawls and plank walks in the sand, I can say it’s gonna take some adjustment. You’ll have sand in your shoes from the minute your feet hit the sand, and before long you’ll be completely covered. Parts of the course have you going through water, too, so you can bet that sand is gonna stick the rest of the race.

Lisa had me do regular burpees and burpees where I actually laid down in the sand completely (jump up, lay down, stand back up, as fast as you can). I got slow pretty quick… EVERYTHING takes more effort in the sand!

I got a little break from the grit with another new challenge: tire flipping. As Lisa pointed out, it can be very tire- ing 😉

This is the smallest tire they had at the gym. Lisa claims I will eventually use an even bigger one, but I’m sticking with this guy for now! The key is keeping your back straight, which I wasn’t exactly doing here. Squat down, stand straight up, put all your force behind it and push it over. I did this back and forth, about four flips each way, five times. Or was it ten? I can’t remember but whatever it was I’m definitely feeling it a day after!

tire 1  tire 2

One of our photographers from WICU/WSEE stopped by to get some footage of me struggling/ sweating through the session, so look out for some live action coming your way on the stations of Lilly Broadcasting later this week! I’ll post when it’s going to be on, and I’ll have a link to the video on the blog as well. Get out and hit the sand this week! Good Luck!

I’m starting to see a pattern here… every session gets more challenging! This latest workout was pretty tough for me, and it took me awhile to finish some of the reps, but I think the most important thing is to finish, even if it doesn’t look too pretty at the end. For example, I had to do 80 reps of a flutter kick to target the abs, and I had to take it in increments of 10. Obviously it would be ideal to do 80 in a row without stopping, and that’s the goal– but sometimes you have to take it slow, especially the first time you’re trying something. I’m okay with that!

I did a few different circuits today, and Lisa said the goal was to work quickly through three excercises, four times, to get a cardio burst along with the strength training. It’s all about working up to the race, and both aspects will be equally important!

I started off with a circuit of burpees, and hip hinges and leg lifts on the bench. Really felt it in the abs and hamstrings.

bench ab 1 bench ab 2 << feel the ab burn!hammy lift 1 hammy lift 2<< hip hinges target hamstrings/ butt. You can add weight if you want to make it more challenging, just hold a weight plate to your chest.

“Rabbit chasers” are a more intense form of mountain climbers, where you try to bring your foot up to the outside of your hand on each jump. I will not share photos of this marvelous task yet, because I am far from having good form! Lisa included these in another circuit, along with a straight- arm plank and some more knee-to-elbow hanging cruches.

As always, push ups were part of the plan: three different types. I did tricep push- ups, where you keep your elbows in to isolate the tricep muscle. I then graduated to push ups using a weighted ball, which was a whole new level of difficult. This is all so different from any training I have ever done, but testing yourself and pushing your limits is rewarding.

ball pushup   ball pushup 2I was pretty shaky on these! The picture on the right gets you a nice shoulder stretch.

More use of the weighted ball… squats with 25 pounds. It got harder and harder to keep good form as I went but the deeper the squat the better for all those leg muscles and hip flexors.

squat 25 lb

Never end a workout without my favorite, the foam roller. Remember, good for the IT band, and getting rid of that lactic acid burn.


Trainer’s Tip: When training, work at 70%. Lisa said “if you go at 100% all the time, you will die.” She sounded pretty serious so I’m gonna take her advice…. because as she said on day one, the goal is to survive!

Photo credit to Lisa who continues to double as a photographer, always getting my sweaty side 🙂

So I thought the first week was hard, but this week the real challenge began! I clocked an hour with Lisa at Executive Personal Fitness– which according to my trainer Lisa is equivalent to four hours in the gym on your own! That’s beccause when you’re at the gym by yourself you’re much less likely to push yourself and stay on task (how many times do you check your Facebook or text when you’re working out? I’m guilty!)

There were several times during my session this week that I didn’t think I could finish all the reps, but Lisa coached me through it and I made it my goal just to finish, no matter how ugly it looked. She also gave me this slightly concerning warning: it won’t get easier. Yes, I’ll get stronger, but as I progress I will continue to increase reps and weights, so don’t get too comfortable. If a certain excercise is starting to feel easier, keep pushing yourself.

This week I had Lisa double as a photagrapher so you can get a visual of some of the circuits I did.

First up, I did these pull-ups of sorts. Here’s where the pictures come in handy, so I don’t have to try to describe it:

         pull up 2

I targeted pretty much all of my leg muscles with this next fun (anytime Lisa says fun she means painful, same goes here) move, using the half excercise ball. Good cardio too! I did 3×15 jumps side to side over the ball.

ball squat 2       ball squat

I really tested my ab strength with this next one… I laid back on an incline bench for situps, which seems simple enough but here’s the  catch: I had to hold a weight ball straight up in the air the whole time, and the goal was not to let it move. As most things I’ve done in training so far, it’s harder than it seems!

Triceps are going to be key on race day, for crawling and lifting myself up over obstacles. Dips are a great way to target the muscle and get a nice burn pretty quickly. I did 3×15 reps. If you don’t have a bench, you can do this exercise on the floor too, just make sure you keep your butt up.

dip 1  dip 2

To strengthen the core, an area that Lisa stresses as crucial for both running stamina and obstacle domination! (or at least not falling on my face when I attempt an obstacle). Planks, planks and more planks in all different forms are becoming a part of every session. Hold it long enough and You’ll feel it in your whole body… arms, shoulders, back, abs, legs, and butt.

plank plank smile

It looks like I was really enjoying this… smile through the pain!

Trainer’s Tip: Finish every strength workout with some protein. I replenish with this Nature’s Bounty protein powder… I think I was mainly drawn to it for it “decadent chocolate” flavor, but it has a lot of vitamins packed into the mix. I like to shake it up with Soy milk for extra protein and a creamy taste. Mmmmmm drink up!


Free weights, yoga mat, foam roller and running shoes that fit you well and support you where you need it. These are some key ingredients for your everyday training outside the gym setting.

Free weights, yoga mat, foam roller and running shoes that fit you well and support you where you need it. These are some key ingredients for your everyday training outside the gym setting.

I met up with my trainer Lisa Oberacker for our first session at Executive Personal Fitness (14th and Liberty). I was excited, nervous and a little scared to find out what she had in store for me… and a day after I can say I’m decently sore but feeling good!

I’m not sure if I’ll make the full 12 mile course, but regardless of how far I make it, Lisa gave me what I consider to be a reachable goal: “The goal is to survive!” no matter how slow you go.

I started with a cardio warmup for about ten minutes on an arch trainer (kind of like an elliptical, low impact on joints). For the rest of our session, we focused on strength training with different circuits.

Trainer’s Tip: The Beast will take a lot of upper body and core strength, since there’s a lot of climbing and crawling. Working your arms, shoulders, chest and abs will be crucial.

Circuit one was 10 pushups and 10 squats on a very unstable half balance ball. I alternated between the two exercises, doing each three times.

The next circuit alternated between two moves that I found to be slightly harder: first hold a one minute plank with hands on the half balance ball turned upside down (instability=greater muscle use). The next move required me to hold myself up with two arm straps, so my feet were dangling, and pull my knees up to my chest. The goal was to touch my elbows with my knees, but that was much harder than Lisa made it look! Looks like my abs (and hip flexors) need some serious work.

Lisa claims that the abs and hip flexors respond to strengthening pretty quickly, so here’s hoping!

I also did some work with the Kettlebell, squatting and lifting the bell straight out in front of me as I stood up (I’ll include pictures in the next post so you can get a visual of some of these moves.)

I finished up with some arm work, lifting two eight pound weights from my shoulders to over my head. I did 3×15 reps. Then I did 3×20 reps lifting two five pound weights straight out in front of me, and straight out to the sides. That one is harder than it seems, too!

The last piece of our session was maybe the most painful. I faced an old frenemy: the foam roller. It helps release lactic acid buildup in the muscles, and is supposed to reduce soreness the next day. It’s also good for anyone with IT band problems, like me. Click here for more on how to use this torture device recovery tool.

Trainer Tip: stretch randomly throughout the day,  and do about thirty pushups each day on your off days just to keep  your muscles working. You don’t want to feel like you have to start over every time you hit the gym. Also, a protein boost is a good addition to your fitness routine. Any kind of powder form or casein or whey protein will work, but Lisa said the best way to get your protein is through food, like a nice steak or a piece of salmon with quinoa.

Here we go…

Posted: April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Beast on the Bay

Welcome to the Beast Blog! I’m so excited to support the Barber National Institute by running, jumping, climbing and crawling my way through the military- inspired obstacle course on Presque Isle.

Click here for more information on the Barber Beast on the Bay

On this blog I will detail my training week by week, and give you some tips so you can follow along with me, but first I have to give a big thank you to the Barber Center, Executive Personal Fitness and the stations of Lilly Broadcasting (WICU/WSEE) for supporting me through this challenge.

I’m going to start with a disclaimer: I’ve kind of taken a back seat with running lately, due to some hip and knee problems. I feel like I’m kind of starting from scratch with this whole thing… so if I can do it, anyone can!

The countdown is on to Saturday, September 7… 158 days to go! Get your running shoes on and let’s get started!