At 4 feet, 11 inches and closing in on her 40th birthday, Sonya Alford might not seem like your typical Tough Mudder athlete. But watch her flip a tire or jump over a box and you’ll immediately change your mind.
Alford is no stranger to working out, but she recently stepped up her game to prepare for the 11-mile obstacle course taking place March 7 in Milton.
“I’ve done the Mud Run in Niceville and it was a 5K, and then I had friends that did the Tough Mudder in Tennessee,” she said.“When we found out it was coming to Milton we decided we’re all going to do it together.”
Alford said she knew this event would present new challenges she had not faced in other races.
“This is definitely a team event,”she said.“Unlike the Mud Run in Niceville, there’s no way you can get over some of the obstacles on your own.You have to rely on other people to help you and you have to other people.” Alford’s team, the Mighty Mudders, is made up of six members. She said she enlisted professional help so she could get stronger to help her teammates.
She teamed up with personal trainer Fernanda Anderson, of Force Fitness in Navarre, who offered a nine-week training challenge tailored to the Tough Mudder.
Since the challenge began in January, she’s been working to increase her strength with weights and core work along with interval training to boost her endurance.
“As far as my strength, I can do things now that I never thought possible,”Alford said. She’s also working on getting mentally prepared for some of the tougher obstacles.
“The Crybaby is going to be a challenge for me mentally just to get in there,”she said, referring to the enclosed structure filled with a tear gas-like substance.“Once I get in it I’m sure I’ll be OK. And the ice bath (Arctic Enema 2.0), just because I’m already so small and I’m already coldnatured because I’m anemic. I am paranoid about going under that chain link fence.”
A former gymnast, Alford and her husband Steve grew up in Pace and now have two boys, Brandon, who’s in the Air Force, and Everett, a senior at Navarre High School.
“Just 12 miles alone is a long way. I may end up walking most of it, I just want to complete it,”Alford said.“I remember the feeling after I finished the mud run and I looked back and thought, wow I just did that. So I’m nervously excited.”
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