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Beach volleyball: On horizon for next summer?
Susan McCreath planks during a workout. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Editor’s Note: Susan McCreath has been selected to participate in the Year of You, a fitness challenge hosted by The Manteca Bulletin and CORE Athletic Performance. McCreath is keeping a weekly journal, highlighting the strides and struggles of her fitness journey. These are her thoughts and feelings shared with you.


Day 161

When I submitted my application for this contest I stated that one of the issues my weight was causing me was knee pain. However, I must preface that with the fact that I had 2 knee surgeries on my left knee during college because of a dislocating kneecap. Add in the wear and tear of playing all those years, along with the weight and it’s a recipe for arthritis, swelling, keep it at bay I get a cortisone shot every once in a while. Today was cortisone shot day! For me they work miracles, but I know in the long run that improving my health and fitness level will only help to alleviate the knee issues. After I went to the doctor, my daughter and I made a trip to Costco. Since beginning this journey I have tried to stay away from Costco for a variety of reasons: muffins, cinnamon rolls, pies, boxes of chips, soda, candy and the list goes on and on! Today was going to be different....that’s what I told my daughter as we headed in. I told her that only healthy snacks were going into the basket and we did it! As the cashier rang us up I was beaming with pride: Strawberries, blueberries, chicken, fish, lettuce, almonds, berry pie, Greek yogurt....wait, berry pie??? How the heck did that make it into my cart? I’m tempted to tell the cashier that I have decided against the pie, but I decide that she is already done scanning and that would just slow down the line! I don’t want to be one of those people, so I take the pie home and have buyer’s remorse the whole way home! I’m getting better, but still not perfect!! 


Day 162

My daughter said the most interesting thing to me today as we were driving. She said, “Mom, I think we should start playing in beach volleyball tournaments together!” you think it deflated her too much when I said, “Are you kidding me? There is no way in heck I can play beach volleyball...I’d die! You need to find a partner your age.” My mind instantly flashes back to running sprints on the beach in Santa Barbara after we lost a match that we shouldn’t have in college. I was in shape back then...really good shape and I can still remember how hard it was to workout on the beach. Then my mind flashes to a Facebook post that a former teammate just posted last week....her and her daughter won a beach tournament down in San Diego. is possible at my age, someone I actually know is able to do it! But, I’m scared! I’m too out of shape to tackle this. So, I told her that I think we should stick with our original plan when I started this journey...our plan was to complete a mud run together. That is something that we both have wanted to do and that is our goal. She agrees that we will tackle this first and then maybe next summer I’ll be ready for some beach volleyball. Of course beach volleyball brings up that whole bathing suit issue as well....this is way too much to comprehend at this point! So now we need to find a mud run to do....anyone have any good suggestions for mud runs or willing to join us??


Day 163

Tonight while we were working out at bootcamp there came a point where we were supposed to do full sit of my favorites because we actually get to sit down and there is a part where you are lying back!! Anyway, I had actually done 20 in a row without stopping and time was still not up! I’m feeling pretty accomplished, but then I have that dreaded flashback. Sometimes I’m not sure if these flashbacks are helpful or not, but it happens anyway. In college I used to do 1,000 sit-ups a day...and most of them I did while setting a volleyball or keeping control of the ball. And in this moment right now I’m excited that I did 20 sit-ups in a row without stopping....I’m having the pathetic conversation in my head as Tommy has us switch into a plank. As I’m planking, I think to myself...this freakin’ exercise wasn’t even around 20 years ago. Who the heck invented this?? I had never even done a plank until I started this journey. And why does my body shake so bad when I do it? I envision it as fat shaking loose and that helps me hold the position for a few more seconds, but geez that position kills me!


Day 164

When I arrive at the gym tonight there are 2 workouts on the board tonight: one for arms and one for legs. My first thought is you have got to be kidding me, we are doing both workouts!! But Tommy then tells us that we get to choose which workout we are doing. Choose?? I don’t want to choose. I just want to be told what to do. How am I supposed to decide? Ultimately, I choose the leg workout because in my mind it seems like I burn more calories that way. So, 50 lunges into the first set I’m trying to remind myself why I chose the leg workout. I really start to question myself when we start jumping onto the tires and when I find myself in the squat rack I’m beginning to think I was an idiot for choosing the leg workout! I’m sweaty, my knees hurt, I’m sure my squats and lunges resemble nothing what they are supposed to look like and right at this point Robert tells me that I need to add some weight as he is positive I can lift more than what I am.....really???


Day 165

Progress!!! July evening classes tonight so my only option was to go at 7 a.m. in the morning. It was a first for me getting up in the morning and working out, but I figured 7 a.m. was doable. The workout which consisted of a series of jumping jacks, squats, push-ups, planks, mountain climbers, leg lifts, sit ups, lunges and jogging was challenging, but I was able to complete it. The best part though was getting home by 8:15 in the morning and knowing that my workout was done for the day. This energy allowed me to do some cleaning around the house before I eventually succumbed to the 4th of July homemade ice cream, ribs, shrimp and corn on the cob! The food was amazing, but I know that I will have to get right back on track in the morning.


Day 166

The gym wasn’t open today so I decided to take a walk around town tonight. As I was walking I started paying attention to the people passing by me in the cars. Car after car the driver was eating while they were driving! I became completely mesmerized by this because one of the things I have tried to do since starting this journey is to not eat in the car. A small step, but a crucial step because I realized that the majority of the food I was eating in the car had been purchased in a drive thru which was unhealthy......and really not needed! If I’m eating a meal in the car then that means that I did not plan ahead and prep my food. So now I guess you could call me a car snob! So, as I’m walking I start to look at every single car and tally those drivers that are eating vs. those that are not. Let’s just say that many more drivers were consuming burgers and fries while driving than not! I contemplate how this is a sign of our society and one of the things that has lead so many to obesity. I remind myself that this is why I shouldn’t eat in the car plus eating a salad or gnawing on some grilled chicken is hard to do with two hands on the wheel!


Day 167

I was surfing the Internet today and what pops up.....a BMI calculator. So, against my better judgment I plug in my height, weight, and gender already knowing ahead of time that I am not going to fall into the healthy range, but I wanted to see if I had progressed out of the “obese” range. With one click of the mouse....nope! Still obese! But, extremely close to being just “overweight.” However, when I look at the healthy weight range I cringe: 144-177 pounds. That’s ridiculous. Like I wrote about last week being 6 feet tall and weighing less than 150 pounds will bring up all sorts of anorexia topics! However, 177 pounds is doable. But, like I’ve said before I really don’t have a goal weight in mind although I have come up with a new goal. I want to be able to wear a T-shirt and not have to look at that doughnut shape that circles my belly button! Seriously!!! What is that? When I look at my naked belly button it is average size.... No big gaping hole! So how is it when I put on a T-shirt I all of the sudden look like I have a doughnut for a belly button!?!?! And I can just feel people staring at me and wondering why my belly button is such a big hole. I swear sometimes I want to rip off my shirt and show them that my belly button is just average! Maybe as I tone up this whole doughnut issue will disappear as well! 


Connect with Susan McCreath and CORE Athletic Performance trainer Robert Iniguez on the Year of You Facebook page at: