July 24, 2013
Dig In and Pull
By CrossFit
The Masters enter their second day of competition.
The Masters enter their second day of competition.

The Masters enter their second day of competition.

“That was for all the meatheads,” Greg Smiley said of Event 3.

On day two of the masters competition, things got heavy. It wasn’t the 50 shoulder-to-overheads that caused a problem for the competitors. What made the biggest difference was how the athletes handled the three sled pulls interspersed between the other movements. 

Smiley, an athlete in the 45-49 division, took 12th in the event known as Pullgatory: 50 shoulder-to-overheads, arm-over-arm sled pull over 1/3 of the field, 40 burpees, arm-over-arm sled pull over 1/3 of the field, 30 sumo deadlift high-pulls, arm-over-arm sled pull over 1/3 of the field, and then a sprint to finish.  
“I wish it had been 100 burpees (instead of 40),” Smiley said. “It was rough.”
On the second day of the masters competition, a new variable came into play: recovery.
Could the athletes bounce back from an arduous day one, dig in, and move that sled?
Lisa Mikkelsen has a theory. 
“When I found out about the new age group this year (the 40-44 year olds), I thought, ‘Damn, everything is going to be harder,’” she said. Mikkeslen said the addition of this new division meant the level of difficulty would be raised for all athletes.
“The weight is harder this year,” she said. “It really sucks."
Mikkelsen, competing in the 45-49 division, took third in Event 3.
“With the sled pull, I didn’t know what to do with my body. I didn’t know whether to sit down, stand up, or throw up,” she said with a laugh. 
Mikkelsen is in first place going into Event 4, which is familiar territory. “I did the deadlift/box jump event with the team at the Regional competition in 2011,” she said.
The sled pull was the make-or-break movement for this event. Athletes employed a variety of strategies to move the weighted sled across the grassy field—some standing up, some crouching low, and some sitting down or even laying flat on their backs. The sled pull presented a challenge for the smaller athletes, and moved Becky Conzelman into third place after an 18th place finish on the event.
A lot has changed since Troy Miller’s first CrossFit Games. He competed in 2008 at Aromas.
“Spealler was in my heat,” Miller said of the 2008 Games.
This year he is competing in the 50-54 division, after sitting out in 2012 due to shoulder surgery. Miller said the difference between 2011 and 2013 is remarkable.
“In 2011, the athlete tent was the size of the medical tent,” he said. “Everything is racheted up.”  
Miller struggled with Event 1, finishing 18th, but he’s been working his way up the leaderboard, taking third in Event 2.
In this heavy workout, Miller said he approached each sled pull like a one-calorie row. “I dug my heels in, pulled, and landed on my back,” he said.
The strategy worked. Miller took first in the event, moving him into third place overall.
Competing alongside veteran competitors like Miller were first-time Games athletes like Mike Fournier, in the 45-49 division. 
Cheered on by his 13-year-old daughter, Mikena, Fournier took an early lead in the event.
“Dad, don’t stop!” Mikena yelled as Fournier worked through the 30 sumo deadlift high-pulls with an 88-lb. kettlebell.
Fournier was so far ahead of his competition he jogged to the finish mat, waving to his fans as he finished the event.
The win moved Fournier into fourth place. “I’m so grateful, so thankful,” he said about competing in the Games.
Of his plan for the rest of the competition, Fournier said his plan is simple.
“It’s just one workout at a time,” he said.
60+ Division
Event winner: Donna Walters
Overall leader: Donna Walters
55-59 Division
Event winner: Anita Eskelinen
Overall leader: Gabriele Schlicht
50-54 Division
Event winner: 
Overall leader: X
45-49 Division
Event winner: Maude Hecht
Overall leader: Colleen Fahey
40-44 Division
Event winner: Amanda Allen
Overall leader: Amanda Allen
60+ Division
Event winner:  Gary Marshman
Overall leader: Scott Olson
55-59 Division
Event winner: Denny Hawkins
Overall leader: Hilmar Hardarson
50-54 Division
Event winner: Troy Miller
Overall leader: Steve Parsoneault
45-49 Division
Event winner: Mike Fournier
Overall leader: Gene LaMonica
40-44 Division
Event winner: Ron Mathews
Overall leader: Michael Moseley
For complete standings and all scores from all divisions, visit the Leaderboard.