When Workout 13.3 was announced, thousands around the world saw it as a chance for redemption. Since it was a repeat of last year’s 12.4, many were excited to test themselves against the world, and compare their performance to the previous year.
One person who saw a particular significance in the announcement was 42-year-old Amanda Allen.
“When this week's workout was announced, I did think about the muscle-ups,” Allen says. “I knew I wanted to get the wall balls and double-unders out as fast as I could, so I could work on the muscle-ups, especially after the failed muscle-ups at Regionals.”
Allen was a breakout performer at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games where she placed 19th in world. But after battling illness and injury to make it back to the 2012 Australia Regional, she lost, in a dramatic fashion, what was an almost certain ticket to the Games.
Allen held an 11-point advantage over fourth-placed Denae Brown heading into the final workout. Despite that lead, Allen came unglued when she failed to complete all 20 muscle-ups in the workout, which consequently saw her dream of becoming a dual Games competitor slip away.
“It was incredibly disappointing and frustrating when that happened,” Allen says. “The day after those Regionals, I went home and I sat down with my coach and was like, ‘Right! What are we going to do? I don’t want to just qualify next year, I want to storm the house.’”
Preparation for the 2013 Games season started the day after the 2012 Regional and since then, Allen has kept a rigorous training schedule.
“I don’t have a day off anymore because I find it does not work for me and
I don't recover as easily,” Allen says. “I’ve been doing doubles everyday, Monday to Friday, with a long kind of back-to-back session on Saturday morning followed by a long 90-minute run with my dog on Sunday.”
When asked about the last time she has taken a full day off of training, Allen paused.
“Hm. I don’t know. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you,” she says. “I work incredibly hard to keep a balance in my life so I can do what I do. When I know my body is a little run down and I have not kept the balance and things are a little out of whack, I’ll maybe take an afternoon off or a day off, I just can’t remember when that was.”
Allen’s dogged determination appears to be working. She placed second in Australia for 13.1 with 196 repetitions, third in 13.2 with 362 reps and this week, scored another third-place finish with 263 reps. That was 10 reps more than 2012, but more importantly, 10 more muscle-ups.
Allen’s 13.3 score was just five reps behind Australia Regional champ, Kara Gordon. What made her performance even more impressive is the fact that she completed the wall balls with a 7-kg weight, instead of the 6 kg that was allowed.
“There was bit of discrepancy when the workout was released around what the wall ball weight should be,” she says. “Was it six or seven kilos? So we thought stuff it, let's push hard and do it with seven.”
Allen doesn’t think it impacted her score.
“I really don’t think it mattered. The wall balls and double-unders are just a warm-up. I don't get tired from them at all. I finished the wall balls around the five-minute mark, and I don't think having more or less weight would have affected me,” Allen says.
“I planned to break the double-unders into 50 and 40, but was feeling good so did 60, 30 and got to the muscle-ups at 6:06.”
With her impressive performance so far, Allen is optimistic.
“It’s been two years since I started CrossFit, and I think it’s only now I’m starting to see all my skills and strength come together,” she says.
“If you look at my performances over the last three workouts, I haven't got a massive fluctuation in my placings, and CrossFit rewards that sort of thing.
So my goal is to continue that in these last two workouts. Then it’s on to Regionals.”