April 25, 2014
Love at First WOD
By Keka Schermerhorn

“This year, it was a goal of mine to make it as an individual. But never in a million years would I have imagined I'd be in the top 10—I was hoping for top 40.”

Photos courtesy of Shaun Cleary

After finishing the 2013 Open in 54th place in the North East Region, Erica Pollock made some changes to her routine.

“I went to the North East Regional last year with the CrossFit Lindy team and it was amazing!” Pollock said. “This year, it was a goal of mine to make it as an individual. But never in a million years would I have imagined I'd be in the top 10—I was hoping for top 40.”

Pollock finished the 2014 Open in eighth place, only two spots behind her little sister, CrossFit New England team Games athlete Rachel Martinez.

In the fall of 2011 Pollock, a former collegiate diver and avid runner, was unhappily struggling to lose her post-pregnancy weight.

“I'll never forget the call from Rachel saying, ‘Erica, you need to try CrossFit,’” Pollock recounted. “My initial thought was, ‘Rachel, I'm not a badass like you. I'll never be able to do that!’ But she pushed and pushed and I finally went. You can say it was love at first WOD—it was amazing!”

Pollock’s original intention was to attend classes a couple of times a week in an effort to get back in shape. Lauren Fleri, who competed on CrossFit Lindy’s team with Pollock in 2013, was immediately impressed with her potential.

“I was blown away and also extremely jealous of how fast she picked everything up,” Fleri said. “Movements that took me months to master took her only weeks.”

Before long, Pollock signed up for her first competition.

“She saw she could be competitive in it, and she got that fire and determination to push hard in training,” Martinez said. “It is super impressive to me that she can keep up with being such a great mom and wife, and still be so incredibly talented and successful in CrossFit.”

In March of 2013, the mother of two partnered up with three friends to start Islip CrossFit in Bay Shore, New York.  

“Last year, my buddies Nick (Ullman), Jon (Lien) and Charlie (Cassara) reached out to me to come on board as part owner of Islip CrossFit,” Pollock said. “I couldn't be happier. We have the most amazing members and going to work and coaching is just my passion.”

In addition to her new responsibilities at CrossFit Islip, Pollock is also a full-time teacher at a trade school.

Pollock’s training partner, Steve Bider, has been training with her for the past two-and-a-half years.

“She can stay positive whether she's having a good or a bad day, which is something I really admire,” Bider said. “I know that many other regional athletes have children or full-time jobs, but she has it all. She works full time, has two kids, and is a co-owner and coach at Islip CrossFit. Sometimes her days are 15 hours nonstop, but she still manages to get all of her training in and push herself all while wearing a smile.”

Last summer, Pollock started following Ben Bergeron’s programming.

“Rachel told me that I must follow CrossFit New England programming, and me and my training partner Steve began to follow right away,” Pollock said. “I can't explain in words how much Ben’s programming has helped me improve as an athlete—he’s a programming genius. And on top of that, I can talk to Rachel about workouts and she can help me strategize and tell me times to shoot for. She always beats me, but I'm used to that by now.”

Bider agrees the programming contributed to Pollock’s climb up the Leaderboard.

“I think following CFNE has been a big part of her climb up the Leaderboard, but other than that, having her own gym has helped,” Bider said. “Being able to train whenever we want and for more time definitely added to her success this year.”

Despite the changes she’s encountered, Pollock’s children are still her greatest priority.

“My life is crazy,” Pollock said. “First and foremost, I'm a mother of two wonderful children. They love the gym and spend a lot of time with me there, but when I spend too much time in the gym, I feel guilty and get my butt home. I make sure I spend as much time with my kids as possible. … It’s very challenging to balance all the things that need to happen in a day, but it can be done. It's not always easy and I'm tired a lot, but I wouldn't change a thing in my life.”

As Pollock and Martinez prepare to compete at the North East Regional, they are both looking forward to the experience of competing with each other.

“People do not believe that there is no sibling rivalry,” Martinez said. “We are so supportive of each other in and out of the gym, and always have been. CrossFit has made Erica and I 10 times closer and I didn't think that was even possible, since we already had an incredible relationship. We are each other's biggest fans and I couldn't be more proud of my older sister.”

Pollock, who considers her little sister a role model, credits Martinez for making her a better athlete.

“I would have to say that I'm looking forward to competing with Rach the most,” Pollock said. “She cheers me on and pushes me and coaches me. We are both competitive but never with each other. She's so supportive of me and always wants me to do well. She'll most likely coach me before the (events) at the regional—although I think we are in the same heat—which naturally makes me nervous as hell because I don't consider my athletic abilities to be even in the same universe as Rachel's.”