Owner and lead therapist Alika Antone and the A2 PT staff challenge their patients every day to put in hard work. They push patients to overcome obstacles that can sometimes seem insurmountable.
So when Dr. Antone was challenged by his super-fit wife to compete alongside her in a grueling, muddy Spartan obstacle race — he could relate with how many of his patients feel at the beginning of their journeys toward better health. Overwhelmed. Almost impossible.
That’s why knew in his heart that he had to face the fear. Running in muddy gunk. Cardio. Everything about it seemed unappealing and, well, odd. So he took a big breath and signed up.
“I had never participated in any sort of marathon or Spartan challenge prior to 2018. I am not a runner, or much of a cardio person at all,” Antone said. At the race, “My burpees were ugly, my lack of cardio fitness was limiting, and my lower back killed me. (Yep, even physical therapists aren’t immune!)
“My muscles went into spasm, and affected me negatively for the second half of the race,” he said. “I already knew cardio was a weakness of mine, and my wife had to wait up for me on several occasions while I tried to keep pace with her. That was humbling.”
Dr. Antone slogged through 5 miles and 20 obstacles— and when he completed the race the sense of accomplishment (and getting over roadblocks along the way) left him fired up for his next Spartan race. Yep, that even surprises him!
Next time, he will do better because he learned. Here are a few of his “a-ha” moments:
1. Make a Plan: Based on the weaknesses identified by the Spartan, I have numerous ideas about how to better train for improved physical performance on my next attempt.
2. Dedicate the Time: My wife and I discussed getting a sitter for the kids at least once a month so that we are able to run trails, or extend our training to include at least 5 miles, which we do not include in our regular training. This will also help us remain motivated to train consistently. The 5 miles will be a good monthly test to check how prepared we are.
3. Get Your Head in the Game: The ability to withstand difficulties and disaster —and to be resilient — are good qualities to have not only in a Spartan race, but in Iife.
4. Connect with Community: I ran this race with my wife, although many participants were part of a group/team. I’m not sure how to articulate the feeling or connection that happens when you’re both sliding down a muddy hill into a pool of muck that goes over your head. We both agreed it was the best date we’ve had in a long time!
So what does a Spartan race have to do with A2 and physical therapy? Quite a bit, Dr Antone said. Everyone faces journeys, obstacles, and challenges. Whether it is working hard to get your mobility back after a car accident with the A2 team, or getting physically fit to keep up with your wife during the next muddy race you need the same things: A plan, patience, consistency, and you must make your health goals a priority. And when you have people cheering you on — well, that makes all the difference in the world.
Whatever your challenge is, Dr. Antone added, “Commit. Do it now. You’ve got this!”
Learn more about Spartan races here.
"My wife was trying to get me to go to A2 after she was enjoying the classes. I am busy and wanted to go but always had an excuse. Well one she pre-paid for me to go. Time for me to face my fears about why I hadn’t been going because now I am going. First, I was in ok shape active just not work out shape plus what if I couldn’t beat my wife or the other women in class? What if I passed out?
As Saturday approached my fears rose and my brain searched for an excuse. Yet when I arrived at the class what I found was nothing like I was fearing, quite the opposite. Everyone is focused on their own pace. While being motivating Kristi is not forceful but positive and supportive, coaching each person at their ability.
It has not been a month of one day a week, my body has reacted by toning up, my six pack is back. My wife was mad and happy at the same time. I have been seeing a chiropractor for maintenance and recently my body is firming up and I do not feel the aches and pains of getting older. Was I sore after the first workout? Yes for a few days I was sore, but each week the soreness would decrease. After a month I am not sore but stiff the next day, feeling stronger each workout.
Thank you, A2 Physical Therapy and Kristi, for the good music and for pushing us without pressuring us."
"Before I started coming to A2 I was always tired and could barely pick up or carry my grandchildren a ½ block. After the first 6 weeks of working with Kristi I got a big surprise when I took my grandchildren to a festival and carried the youngest 4 blocks before she woke up enough to walk. I then picked her up and put her on my shoulders so she could see better without effort. I was amazed at how much strength I had gained in a short time. I continue to see improvement in my strength and I’m no longer tired all the time."
"Physically and mentally as healthy as I can be is my goal. My father lived to 93 and fairly healthy physically and mentally. My mother is 96 years old and is failing mentally and physically. I have watched the good and bad of aging. My chances of longevity is good but I want to be mentally and physically as healthy as I can be. Not until I started working out with Kristi Cruz at A2 did I know how to prepare myself for my road ahead. Kristi has given me the tools and information for me to understand what I need. She has led me by my hands and feet to improve me physically and talked and explained to help me understand the process. Working out with Kristi two or three times per week is a priority and my recipe for good mental and physical health. My name is Geri Markham and I am 71 years old. I feel as fit as I could be at my age. I have to give all the credit to Kristi Cruz at A2 for walking with me through the process. I would recommend Kristi totally if you are interested in learning to be physically and mentally healthy as you move on in life. Life is good thanks to A2 and Kristi Cruz."