getting to know you. 

…getting to know all about you!

the young people of #CRRC know what's up. #happy #day393 #shaysstillstreaking

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last spring I went on a training trip with the team I coach and as it is with many rowing training trips, there are skits. the kids had come to know that I’d been doing an Instagram post everyday and worked that in somehow. and then many of them told me I couldn’t just stop at day 365. 

so here I am, about 30 days past one year and apparently it’s become a thing. 



thank god it’s friday…but only because when you go hard during the week, the weekend looks awesome.

lately (the past two weeks), i’ve taken a stance on how i spend my time. and a stance toward how i do or do not spend my energy. so far, so good.

it’s like this – who do i spend my time with? how do i spend my time? where do i spend time? what do i spend time on? and on top of all of these questions i might ask myself, i can also  go to, rather directly, the thing i posted about a few days ago. the quote from local life coach that went something like…

“if it’s not an enthusiastic yes,

then it’s a HELL NO!”

but seriously. i have a little weight from the world i’m carrying around right now. my sister is getting married in about a week. i have a cake to make. my grandma is in a hard place. this is real stuff – heavy stuff. and there are times in days when i feel like my body is simultaneously being dragged and my heart is being opened and also broken into a bunch of tiny pieces.

except that the last two weeks, or maybe even the last week alone has been grounding. if you’ve been following along here, you’ll have seen that…

i feel gratitude in light of hard stuff. and i feel family in spite of being far away from my born-family.

and most often i feel like i can more wholly and open-heartedly say yes to the things i want to say yes to and a big old “HELL NO” or polite and whole-hearted “no” to the things that aren’t serving me right now. Madison is like a big hug for me like that – literally and in theory. today i looked out on my city (a view i commented on as we drove into town late on Wednesday night) and i whole-heartedly said “i love you.” and also, dear god, tgif.


we started practice for the team I coach almost three weeks ago, but this week feels especially special because now all of the kids have gone back to school and tonight we had our start of the season parent meeting. a year ago I felt like a fish out of water at the parent meeting. I didn’t not feel like a pet of the team then – but I did feel as unknowing as all of my novices and their parents. 

this year was totally different. 

maybe it’s that 2015 isn’t the year of 100 brand new things as the year past was for me. but part of me thinks that it has a lot more to do with the fact that this team has become like a family. and at the same time, I realize that I wouldn’t be where I am (a part of this CRRC team) without the Badger Rowing team that came before. 

last night, a Badger teammate of mine commented on a video some other teammates made my senior year. that video still makes me get teary-eyed. it really brought me back. those women – the women on the team while I was at the University of Wisconsin were my family and my support while I was there learning and rowing. just as the women who came before us are and as the women who come after will be…

just like the team I coach is now for one another. the community and the family and the support. 

and along with that, it’s good to know that this team will always have your back. today’s post is about the team you’ve got around you and it was also special because I hope my two former Badger teammates who are racing at the World Champs (towards Olympic dreams) know that their team always has their backs and is pushing for them always. 

it’s not about the pizza. 

I’m quite a bit past bedtime here tonight (as its nearly midnight), but I am still winding down from what was the most excellent Wednesday night. 

I had the idea to head out to Cress Spring Bakery for their pizza night and roped just the right person into coming along. She gathered a mighty crew and we ate pizza by the bitty light of the stars above us out in Blue Mounds. 

As we walked onto the grass there, I spotted a family I knew – a beloved family. I said hello and we have hugs and then I sat down with my adopted family for the evening (that’s how it seemed anyway – like an initiation into a wonderful new crew). We ate and laughed and drove and talked and it was just plain awesome. 

Times like these remind me how awesome it is to live in this place and remind me that it’s not even about the pizza – it’s about the connections, the way we come together, the kinship. 

back to school. 

I don’t have a ton to say today. I woke up a little late because I had the most restless night’s sleep in a long time – not able to really get to sleep until about 1am. that wrecked my 5-something wake up call and I didn’t run before work which meant I wouldn’t be able to join my friend for a strength workout afterwards. but…I made my coffee and admired all of the back-to-school photos popping up on the Internet as I ate breakfast and before I knew it, it was time to head to work. 

I was paked up and ready to leave in time to get to work in time, but I biked a few blocks away and realized I hadn’t packed a sports bra or socks for my run after work. I couldn’t remember if I had either stashed at work, so I turned back to get them. let’s say it was a rough start…all before 9am. 

but once I got to work I buckled down. I had made a really focused to-do list yesterday and it seems like ever since I’ve been adding new things to it just as quickly as I’ve been checking them off. 

maybe it’s being on campus or the start of the new school year, even if that doesn’t impact me directly, but nonetheless, I’ve got a new fire under me. fall is here! (almost…with the exception of the temperature)

after a good day at work I headed out for a run. the two goals I had when I set out were to shake out the soreness and stiffness leftover from Sunday’s run and to sweat a lot. instead of complaining too much about the weather, I decided to embrace it. sweating is good for the soul. I had a good run and got to see to of my favorite friends while I was out on the path, which became an added bonus. and then I biked home. 

I ate a weird dinner and made a call and I don’t know why I’m a little off with my time (as evidenced in my bike home when a man asked me for the time and I replied that it was “maybe 6:45” only to look at time a few minutes later and realize it was actually 7:15). anyway, I was cleaning up from dinner and the text sound in my phone went off – twice in a row. I wondered who was texting and realized it was my friend who I told earlier in the day that I would be in touch with later about our plans for tomorrow. i replied and then realized it was suddenly nearly 9pm. 

where has the day gone?!

I made myself a little hot toddy and decided to relax into it. I didn’t worry that I hadn’t even given myself time to take a photo today – instead I pulled out my kindergarten photo, in honor of it being back to school day for most of the kids I know. ahh, back to school. it feels good to welcome the students back to campus. maybe I’m finally old enough and far enough removed to appreciate it. it felt good today to run and to just accept that it wasn’t going to be spectacular – not for anyone. 

I suppose that back to school means change and at the moment I’m just taking it as it comes, going with the flow, and being present. 


i woke up this morning with a sense of calm. and despite not going for a run and after feeling a sense of anxiety of returning to work after a week away, it didn’t come.

i methodically did my PT strengthening routine while waiting for water to boil and for the coffee grounds in my french press to steep. as i drank my breakfast kale smoothie and caught up on a few daily emails i receive, i actually couldn’t even figure out why i was feeling anxious on sunday afternoon to begin with. whatever it was had passed and i was ready, almost enthusiastically, to begin my week.

as i type this i sense a bit of sarcasm or a slight bit of surprise in my tone. it’s not that i dislike my job – i am just generally slow on mondays and while a run typically helps ease/jar me into existence, it didn’t take that today. and i’m also hugely a creature of habit and routine – so returning to a world of structure and demands from others after a week of mostly setting my own leisurely schedule could have been stressful, but it was not.

i drank my smoothie and then started in on my coffee and emails. one of my favorite emails to read first thing on monday mornings is my Ripples email. you see, i “met” Paul when he was a speaker at a youth leadership conference i attended somewhere around SOPHOMORE year of high school. yes, i’ll put that in easier terms for you – i have been receiving this email blast from Paul long before Facebook was a thing – honestly, i think i first subscribed in 2001. TWO THOUSAND AND ONE! people, that was 14 years ago. almost half my life. the year some of the girls i coach were born. *** subscribe here *** (seriously, do it)

can we all just revel in that for a hot minute?!

ok, back to it. i was reading the Ripple-y email and Paul shared a handful of quotes from an awesome guy, Wayne Dyer, who passed away over the weekend. there were four (of the six) that really spoke to me and one i’ll share with you now:

“We never sit anything out. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
-Wayne Dyer

i like that. maybe its because i feel a recent sense of being full and tipping. i think my week away from work helped me with that. i was getting to a point where there were so many things – not even bad or stressful things – just so many things floating around in my life and in my brain and a week of calm, quiet, move-at-your-own pace was just what i needed to let it all fill up and let some of the really good pour out. gratitude.

and there’s also this TinyLetter (you should consider subscribing to that one, too) i’ve been receiving daily for a bit now – Vanessa shared her thoughts on the word “happiness” which naturally, i took personally, because i’m Shayla and because i’ve been doing this little Instagram #happy project now for 388 days in a row and because i too, was a skeptic or something about the word “happiness” and about the documenting of it – that is, until i was in the thick of it. any for me, the project isn’t even about being “happy” all of the damn time – it’s really just about me noticing and taking in and observing and documenting at least a tiny piece of the world around me that i’m working so hard at being, really being in everyday – especially for the last 388 days.

so, worlds are colliding and gratitude is spilling over and semantics are where it’s at and then tonight, as i was finishing up trying to write myself a little 75-word biography about what i do besides coaching rowing, i got one more email (three! to round out the email karma for the day). it was from a Life Coach and friend of many friends here in Madison. her name is Darcy Luoma and one of the things she wrote in the email was,

“Here is something important to remember…you don’t need a reason to say no but you do need a reason to say yes! So, if it’s not an enthusiastic yes, then it’s a “hell no.”

her email was all about figuring out what’s important and learning how and when to say no. but what really got me was the subject of the email, “Replacing More with Better.” that’s a principle i try to in everyday life.

so back to the photo, and quickly, because i would like to get lights out here as close to 11pm as possible (mama’s getting old and needs her recovery sleep for a good morning run). i snapped the photo of the day today as we were heading in near the end of practice. i’d usually complain that it was too hot out – but the water was pretty darn nice. we had a slight breeze and the lake was not crazy-busy. my novice girls team is on the small side right now (meaning we only have 7 girls at the moment), but they’re focused and talented and mighty! what a gift to get to coach just a four right now. we had a shortened practice today due to some admin stuff, but the girls got out on the water and got right to work. they drilled and took some truly awesome strokes.

so all of the stuff i wrote above and the practice tonight sort of came crashing together to create something magical – at least in my own little mind-world. there’s something special about having the space to just be present and deal with the stuff right in front of you, the important stuff… whether it’s heading to work with a sense of gratitude or taking the next best stroke you can!

a sea of red. 

my staycation week was leisurely – I did some productive things and kept up my coaching duties, but I also slept in and admittedly, powered through and finished the Gilmore Girls series. one of the best things I did last week though was to stay on track with my running. knowing myself, I started off a little worried that without structure, I might also be too lazy and not workout, but instead, besides coaching, running was basically the only other constant in my week away from work. 

counting up the miles today, I realized I had hit twenty five for the week! 25 miles and I’m not feeling totally suck-tactic! huzzah. 

I know I still need to prioritize my PT work and get to doing it three times a week. and I also need to get to yoga class…but 25 miles – I’ll take it!

and today, I ran a really solid 10! I’ve been feeling a little frustrated for a while now – like muscle-y spots in my body have turned too flabby and like my weight has suddenly snuck up to a number I haven’t seen in a while. but in all honesty, none of it was sudden. not one bit. it is the culmination of almost two hard years – years in a yo-yo relationship that only heightened any insecurity I could ever have about myself. it is losing a bit of myself and my priorities in a hard time. it’s not suddenly and it shouldn’t be a surprise. not being able to run without pain and sometimes not even being interested in running should have been a sign – it was, and residual fitness helped me stick it out for a while, but lately, as I’m coming back to myself and taking proper care of myself and surrounding myself with good people, I know where I’m headed. 

about a month’s worth of consistent running in and a solid ten miler, my first double digit run in quite some time tell me that I’m on the right track…

after today’s run, I ran some quick errands and then sat down in what seemed to be a sea of red. I grabbed a coffee (see today’s Instagram photo) and sat down under a red umbrella, with my trusty red Believe training journal and reflected for a little bit. 

a sea of red isn’t something I usually embrace even though red is the color of my alma mater. I do bleed Badger red. during practice on Friday, I proudly donned my rowing unisuit, and today, sitting under the red umbrella literally surrounded by red – I felt it’s embrace. 

it’s getting late and I fear I’ve kinda missed my point – but I did want to share today’s photo and all of the goings-on in my brain surrounding it. 

goodnight, Sunday.