One of the things that has been so tough to process about the infidelity is the timing. The sheer length of time it went on, the sad fact that it had started right before my birthday and an amazing party that my husband threw for me, and especially that it began in earnest right after Wodapalooza. To back up and provide context for all non-CrossFitters, Wodapalooza is a fitness festival in Miami. It's a CrossFit competition that has evolved over time to include both individual and team competition at scaled, intermediate, advanced, and elite levels with divisions for masters and adaptive athletes. It's gotten huge (plus the draw of Miami in February is very real) so someone like me can be walking around and run straight into Mat Fraser or Katrin Davidsdottir.
I have a love-hate relationship with competing. On the one hand, I'm extremely competitive and love to push myself for the possible glory of winning or doing better than I have ever imagined. On the other, I get very overwhelmed when tasked with things I don't think I'm good [enough] at and have been known to stand crying next to a barbell I simply cannot clean. So when P decided that he really wanted us to compete on a team together at Wodapalooza I was 40% excited and 60% terrified. We asked two wonderful and very fit friends to join us (teams were 2 females + 2 males) and started specific training. A few things here: while I like data and competition, I'm also weirdly zen when it comes to exercise and love the option of just doing what feels good without a plan day to day. I also get lots of anxiety when it comes to team sports as I'm consistently worried I'm going to be the weak link and hold the entire team back. It's one reason why I love running - no one is really counting on me other than myself.
I struggled a lot with the volume and specificity of training. It was personalized to work on our individual weaknesses so I spent a lot of time on movements that I do not feel proficient in - it was like a daily reminder of "wow you're still not very good at any of this". When I would express this (admittedly in an accusatory way as though I'd been forced into it) to P, he would defensively respond that I could quit and he would find another female to take my place. Cue even more feelings of unworthiness and the ugly fear that he would find a fitter girl, and inevitably fall in love with her. So I stuck it out and looked to February with equal parts hope and dread.
We competed in the scaled division and the workouts truly could not have been better tailored to me unless they had kept the 5k run from the previous year. There were ZERO one rep max or really heavy strength efforts - my biggest CrossFit weakness by far. I am fast but I am not strong. Our team did really well (placing 2nd overall for the scaled teams) and I had an amazing time with our friends. I had fun competing with P and we never fell into our old bad habit of toxic competitiveness. I'm not bragging; I'm still shocked about the fact that none of that mattered.
If anyone had asked me about my marriage the day after we returned home triumphant and elated from Miami, I would've said that we were the best we'd ever been. Speaking just for myself and my WZA experience: I never froze or panicked, I enjoyed myself and fueled my body for the workouts without getting bogged down by my eating disorder, and I felt that I performed at the absolute best of my abilities. I've written it many times and will continue to write it until my emotional brain gets the picture, but infidelity is not about the victim and her shortcomings. I think one of the reasons I'm having such trouble with this idea is that I felt at that moment, during Wodapalooza and right after, that I was finally exactly what he wanted. He didn't want super thin but he wanted super fit and fun and I truly believed that I'd made it. That I was finally safe. That I would be worthy and deserving of the love I'd always wanted.
The Instagram messaging and then texting started maybe a week later.
This is not an effort to tear myself down or get bogged down in the past. As I process and create a narrative of "what happened", my mind keeps coming back to Miami. I wonder what I could've done differently - if I hadn't joined the team would I have been happier through the winter and been closer with P? Would I have noticed him pulling away if I wasn't training up to two hours a day? If he'd competed as an individual and I had just gone to support him and cheer him on, would any of this have happened? None of these questions are relevant at this time but this is what my brain does at 3:00am.
There is also the ugly feeling that the woman he was drawn to isn't especially fit or strong and couldn't have competed on this team, so why did I put myself through this self-imposed gauntlet for months?! Also not important and I should just be happy with the accomplishment for myself but I'm telling it like it is. As a friend recently asked me, would I feel better if she COULD do 30 ring muscle-ups for time and looked like a supermodel?! I don't know. Probably not. But I think about these things. I'm not here for partial vulnerability that makes me look good.
I don't know if I'll want to go back to Miami or if I'll compete alongside P again. I haven't even been able to go back to the gym where we met her so I don't think either will be on the table anytime soon. My therapist talks about exposure therapy and returning to places without my husband but rather with a trusted group of girlfriends so I know I'm safe. So maybe I'll be up for a girls weekend in South Beach or a solo competition with strong women cheering me on. Never say never. But for now, I'm focusing on training how I want to train, building the relationship I want to be in, and living into my full potential, rather than shaping myself into something I believe my husband wishes I could be.