Friday, February 28, 2014

The Name Game: Ranking the Top Team Names

     One of my favorite parts of the Barber Beast on the Bay is the team names. Last week we talked about our two rivaling teams, Krauza’s Krazies and Beauties and Beasts for Autism, so it’s only fair that we give some other teams a little love. If I had my own team, I’d call it the Bad Beasts. We would adjust the theme song from Cops – “Bad Beast, bad Beast, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when he comes for you?” – and have it play every time we passed someone. But because I’m a mascot and not a participant, I can only celebrate some of the top names in our field so far. Counting down from 10 to 1 (1 being the favorite):

"My name is MCA, I got a license to kill /
And what's the time? It's time to get ill!"
10. Cheaper than Therapy – This team is absolutely right: The Barber Beast is way cheaper than therapy! If you signed up during the early registration period, it only cost you $50. If you didn’t, it’s still cheaper than one therapy session. Dr. Beast is in, and he’s prescribing a run on the beach filled with obstacles.

9. Beastie Boys – Fight for Your Right to finish the Beast! My hope is that this team lives up to its counterpart in name by spitting rhymes as they run the course.
8. life’s a beach – On the plus side, we can understand the pun here. We’re also running on a beach, which makes the name even better. The downfall to this name is the lack of capitalization. The Beast is a stickler for two things: Trying your hardest and grammar.
The ninja ferret strikes quick.
7. Neon Ninjas – Who wouldn’t want to be a Neon Ninja? If I were a Neon Ninja, I’d be flying in the air in some sweet fluorescent colors.
6. Ninja Ferrets – The reason why the Ninja Ferrets are ahead of the Neon Ninjas is because of detection. Ninjas are supposed to be stealthy. A ninja in neon is easily seen, but a ninja ferret? Those things will sneak right up on you and nibble at your ankles. Ouch!
 5. Team Mark and Jim – You’re not going to believe this, but this team is made up of two members. One is named Mark. The other? Rob. OK, I’m lying, it’s Jim. This team name is genius.
4. Jugs and Thugs – I’m a family-friendly Beast, so I won’t elaborate on jugs or thugs. However, it is funny, creative, and rhymes. Points for all.
3. SANDY B**CHES – I know I said I was a family-friendly beast, but let’s talk about this team name. They probably think they’re being sneaky. “No, no,” they’ll say. “It’s SANDY BEACHES. You’re the one filling in the stars!” And you know what? I am. And I’m not thinking the team name is “SANDY BEACHES” if you know what I mean.
2. Roast Beast – I’m on the fence about this one. On one hand, I like the creativeness. I like the play on words here in switching “Roast Beef” into “Roast Beast.” On the other hand, I’m scared. If Roast Beast were a deli meat, it would have to be made of me, right? I think, then, it’s safe to assume this team is planning on eating me, which is totally not cool.
1. Fire Breathing Rubber Ducks – This is scary. Imagine me, the Beast, swimming and trying to enjoy a dip in Presque Isle. Then, a rubber duck approaches. Harmless, right? Wrong! I approach and suddenly I’m engulfed by flames. Fire Breathing Rubber Ducks. They’ll get you. 
They're taking over Presque Isle.

Next week we'll get serious with a special guest and some training tips for you. See you then!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Competition and Rivalries Bring Out the Best

     We’re quickly generating our own rivalry here in Erie. Get ready for the Beast’s version of Ali versus Frazier or Yankees versus Red Sox. Not since Hulk Hogan versus “The Macho Man” Randy Savage have we seen such entertainment, brother! OK, so my references are a little outdated here. Point is, this rivalry is heating up like a summer day at Presque Isle.

On one side, we have Krauza’s Krazies, led by Steven Krauza. The team currently stands at 60+ members and seems intent on doing some rabblerousing to stir up some fun. On the other side, we have Beauties and Beasts for Autism. Spearheaded by Karen Groshek, this team is right around 30 members. For whatever Steven Krauza and his Krazies give, Groshek gives right back. The two teams have a wager on which team will have a higher percentage of finishers. One thing is for certain: If the smack talk matches the performance come September 6, it’s going to be close.

The takeaway from this rivalry is not that your team has to call another team out to be ready for the Beast. You don’t have to take the microphone and issue a verbal smackdown on the other teams – though if you do, let me know so I can be there! The take away is that competition can help push you far and make your time at the Beast even more enjoyable and successful. It doesn’t have to be competition with another team. It can be competition within your team, such as which team member can finish the fastest. Or, it can be a competition with yourself. Now, you’re probably thinking “Beast, that makes no sense.” To that I would say this: I’m not a human. You’re lucky I can type, let alone make sense. But let me try to explain – compete with yourself on a daily basis. Or, rather, compete with your past self. If you post a mile on the treadmill one day, beat your past self the next day. Keep beating your past self until you can look back and scoff at the numbers you started with. You’ve got nothing on you!

     We’re under 200 days until the Beast. We’ll get you trained and ready to go in the coming months. We’ll bring in special guests and of course, I, the Beast, will continue to charm you with my knowledge about all things Barber Beast. If there’s anything you want me to talk about, let me know on our Facebook page or here in the comment section. See you soon with more!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What kind of shoes should a Beast wear?

If you want to run in this, you're going to need some shoes!
      You’ve saved money with your early registration for the Barber Beast on the Bay. You’re signed up, you have your team, and you know when it is you’re going to start. Great. Now how about preparing yourself for the Beast? Hopefully you have a plan to start training. If you don’t, we’ll help you get going in the upcoming weeks. But how about taking that money you saved registering early for the Beast and putting it toward something useful?  Like, say, a nice brand new pair of shoes to run in come September 6. Here’s what we recommend in order to tackle the different terrains that is part of the nature of the Beast.  First, let’s tackle some basic strategies for shoes.

  • Don’t duct tape your shoes. You’re not going to lose them and they’re probably not going to fall off. I’m not going to steal them, either. Duct tape adds weight and is only going to make your feet feel heavier. They may also prevent water and other materials from draining from your shoes, making your run uncomfortable. You don’t want to slosh around Presque Isle, do you?
  •  Don’t wear brand new shoes. If you’re going to buy shoes, break them in before race day. Go down to Presque Isle and practice running in the sand. Use them when you’re jogging outside, or just wear them around the house for a while. No matter what you do, you just want to make sure your shoes aren’t stiff and uncomfortable. 
  •      Big, cushiony shoes aren’t the answer, unless the question is “What type of shoe shouldn’t I wear on race day?” No doubt they’re comfortable to wear, but they’re going to suck up water and sand on race day, turning your once comfortable shoes into what feels like carrying dumbbells on your feet.

We swear these are actually shoes.

     So now we know what not to do. What kind of shoes do we want? We want minimalist shoes: Ones that are breathable, tough, and feel like they’re hardly even there.

     The first type of shoe we’ll look at are the ones that barely look like shoes at all: Vibram FiveFinger Spyridon. They’re those weird looking shoes that look like gloves for your feet. But they allow your toes room to move while still providing excellent grip. With these shoes, you would be looking at $60-$100 for a pair.

The New Balance MT 110.

     Next, let’s take a look at the New Balance MT110. They grip well, feel light, and allow moisture to come out of the shoe. Those are the three main things we should be looking for in a pair of shoes. These shoes will also provide protection from rocks and similar objects, which could be beneficial in areas you may encounter on Presque Isle. These will run you right around $100, but it should prove to be money well spent.

     Other types of shoes we’ve seen recommended include the Vivobarefoot Breatho Trail, Inov-8 Trail Rock 245, and the Altra Superior. There are some shoes made by more familiar brands like Reebok, Under Armour, and Nike that could work for the Beast, too, but just remember to look for these three things: grip, weight, and the ability to wick away or remove water/objects.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sponsorships, Registration, and more!

     You know what’s really cool about this year’s Barber Beast on the Bay? Everything. But one thing I’m especially excited about is the new sponsor opportunities. What better way to get your brand’s name out there than to have it affiliated with our event and with helping to “Make dreams come true”? Our 1.5 mile adapted course for individuals with physical or mental disabilities is special to us in that it provides an opportunity for every person, no matter their fitness ability, to participate in an obstacle course. No matter which event – the 10-mile challenge or the 1.5-mile adapted course – you would like to sponsor, it would be worth your investment.
Think you can make a beastly obstacle? Give it a shot!
     One new aspect of our challenge this year is that if you can’t sponsor but want to be affiliated, you can help us by building your own obstacle. With assistance from some of our professionals to make sure it’s safe (they already shot down my idea for a three-story jungle featuring flamethrowers and barbed wire, so don’t bother suggesting that), you can provide Beast-goers with a fun and exciting challenge during the obstacle course.
     For more information, check out or contact my friend Laura Schaaf at

No birds were actually harmed, I swear. My bird friend Chester posed for this with me. We get coffee on Tuesdays.
     It’s not too late to register at a reduced rate. From now until Valentine’s Day, you can sign up for the Beast for just $50, which is 50% off the full price. I’d say it’s a great deal, but really, it seems so obvious that I don’t even need to say it. I guess I just did, though, so there we go. We're already at 104 participants from 7 states, so join them. Barber Beast. $50. 50% off full price. Use code EARLYBEAST. Go!
     Injuries are an unfortunate part of the fitness life. A sprained ankle, shin splints, runner’s knee, or, in my case, giving out too many high-fives, can cause pain and potential problems. While you can continue running with some of these injuries, other areas of the body could suffer because of a change in your running style and a loss of motion. How do we prevent this? One way is to strengthen your core, lower back, and pelvis.
     We’re about seven months out from the Beast, so there’s plenty of time to strengthen your core. Moves like the Superman, Flutter Kicks, Bicycles, and Kegel exercises can all be beneficial to helping you have a stronger core and keep your running style and range of motion consistent and stronger. In turn, you’ll be more prepared on September 6 when you face my challenge of obstacles through sand, water, and other terrains that I love so much.

Finally, thank you to everyone who came out to our sponsor lunch on Thursday. It was a tremendous success, and we look forward to great partnerships with everyone!
Posing with some good friends!
Where are my cool sunglasses?!
High-fiving my friend, Dominic!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2014 Introduction - Meet the Beast

     If you’ve participated in the Barber Beast on the Bay before, you’ve probably given me a high-five, a fist bump, or a hug. Maybe you’ve taken a picture with me or seen me do a silly dance.
     Hi, I’m the Beast. I guess this would be the time to yell “RAWR” or growl, but really, I’m a lot more civilized than that.
     Let me take a brief moment to introduce myself. Though I’m green and scaly, I’m a lot like you. I like romantic dinners, movies, and long, grueling runs on the beach filled with plenty of obstacles. My favorite movie is Beauty and the Beast -- Belle, call me ;-)-- and my favorite song is T. Powell’s “I’m a Beast.” I’ll be cheering on the Seahawks in the Super Bowl to watch running back Marshawn Lynch go “Beast Mode.” Oh, and my favorite TV show? The Bachelor. No, I’m kidding, it’s “Feed the Beast” on the Travel Channel. Seriously, can’t you tell what theme we’re going with?
     But enough about me. Let’s talk about why you’re here. The Barber Beast on the Bay. Let’s say it with some enthusiasm: THE. BARBER. BEAST. ON. THE. BAY. Ten miles of adrenaline-pumping, Earth-shaking, my-God-my-legs-burn-but-I-can\'t-stop-now action. Located at Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pa., the Barber Beast on the Bay offers a trek through sand, water, mud, and everything else the terrain has to offer – you might just say it’s the nature of the Beast.
     We also offer plenty of flexibility in our event. If you can’t do an obstacle, skip it. If you don’t want to do any obstacles, you technically don’t have to. We adapt to you, and we also adapt to everyone who wants to participate. We offer a special Maureen Riazzi Adaptive Course for individuals with mental and physical disabilities. It’s the only course of its kind that we know of, and I’ve put out a call to several of my other reptilian friends.
     We’ll be using this blog as another way to help you conquer the Beast. With guest appearances from local fitness fanatics and tips from me, we’ll be sure to have you ready to go come September 6. Just remember this: To be a Beast, you’ve gotta beat the Beast.