Name: Erin Baumgartner
Member since: 2011
Most known for: Loud cheering, listening to Metal, post work-out Bud Heavies and self-deprecation.
Favorite CF workout: Clean and Jerks and big tire flips
I have been a member at CFSV almost since the doors opened in 2011.
In High School I was a three-season runner, I literally ran in circles for years. Running made me feel free, and somehow unstoppable.
In college and for many years after I played Ultimate Frisbee, first for the Men’s team at UMass and then for teams in Boston. People think that Ultimate is best practiced barefoot with a dog while smoking weed out of a gourd- but its incredibly fast-paced, wonderfully fun and totally grueling on your body. The result of all this for me was two knee surgeries with long and boring recoveries.
Knowing that my time on an Ultimate field was limited I threw myself into finding a replacement drug- another athletic rush. To the horror of my parents and my orthopedic surgeons, I picked Football and played for a semi-pro Women’s Tackle Football team (Let’s go, Boston Renegades!) I played for 3 years and continued to shred my knees and shoulders into oblivion.
The ortho finally had his way and told me my athletic career was over. Swimming, he suggested, was a safer option. I was
On a lark, I walked into CrossFit Somerville. The movements were foreign and the music was loud but I was immediately drawn in.
Being exceedingly awkward and clumsy by nature, it took me a long time to get the hang of the more complex lifts but the patience of the coaches got me through incrementally. After a few months, I began to make strides quickly. I couldn’t run but I could lift heavy; I set goals, chased my PRs, other people’s PRs and was fed off the contagious energy of the place. I think I cried the first day I dead lifted #275 and did victory laps around the gym when I finally eeked out one pull-up.
The honeymoon didn’t last, and my broken body caught up with me. Walking became hard, stairs became troublesome- the pain was brutal. Back to the ortho I went who said another surgery was required, this time a femoral osteotomy. In this total picnic of a procedure they cut into your femur to create a better alignment with your hip. Several days in a hospital, months on crutches, 12-month recovery. No, thanks.
I couldn’t work out. My body got mushy and my brain got irritable and restless- I felt like a caged animal. Through all of this -JT, Nick and Brian were rocks for me. They pulled me back into the gym, back into a cycle of movement and strength building. They devised special programming for me starting at zero: stretching, light rowing, millions of air squats.
A few years have passed. I avoided the femur hacking and the pain has subsided. I’ve built some muscle back and can do light lifting. The coaches still have to constantly modify for me, but they push me to be stronger and challenge me not to settle. This difference they have made on my life is immeasurable.
CrossFit Somerville is a weird and wonderful place. The coaches, the staff and the other members meet you where you are and challenge you to get places you didn’t know were possible.