I’m about to hit the hay, but before i turn in for the night, it’s worth mentioning that, whether you realized it or not, my little streak has ended. it wasn’t an intentional end, actually. I posted a photo a week ago from my sister and brother in-law’s rehearsal dinner and accidentally forgot to tag it. the next night I realized my mistake, but in a loving, wedding-induced haze, I decided to just let it go. 

if I don’t post about a happy moment everyday, does it even exist?

the answer is a resounding YES. 

I posted photos almost everyday of the last week, but instead of scrambling to find the perfect photo, i posted what I had. 

the truth is that straddling the joyous moments of the marriage of my sister and her husband there was a lot of real life happening. sure, time stood still and whirled by at monumental speeds from the moment we arrived at the farm until we finished cleaning up the next morning, but there was still so much going on around us. that’s life. 

I did my sisterly duties and then headed back to Madison Sunday to resume life. at the same time my Grandma was back in the hospital. friends were trying to push their boundaries and finish Ironman Wisconsin and so many other people were experiencing ups and downs of their own. 

am I sad my streak ended? perhaps! am I otherwise focused on the realness of life right in front of me – you betcha. 

I reclaimed reality Sunday night by staying up late and cheering on people I don’t even  know as they passed through the Ironman finish line. I spent time on Monday grounding. I returned to my kids (rowers). I stewarded a friends’ inspiring talk. Tuesday I went back to work and I was a friend and a family member and an exhausted human. sometimes you just have to be all the things and take on all the roles and just deal. 

Tuesday evening rolled around and Ispent about an hour taking to, or rather listening to a friend who has been dealing with a hard thing. 

Wednesday was a challenge and so was Thursday. today was thankgoditsfriday!!!

and you know what, even though it’s all not roses and unicorns and rainbows all of the time, the one thing this week has shown me, or rather proven, is that I don’t need a happy streak or even a happiest moment of the day to know that life is what it is and I’m right exactly where I need to be. 

one more sleep. 

it’s going to be a short one tonight because it’s already late and tomorrow is going to be a full day. my sister is marrying her love tomorrow and I can’t wait to bear witness to all of that. and I can’t wait to gain a brother and to expand this crazy family. #Zubrakwedding, here we come!

enthusiastically, yes!

as a year of first time things wraps up for me I’m considering the year-ish past. there are a few defining moments and one is that I started coaching rowing last September. that was the last first big thing, or maybe that’s not the right way to describe it, but it was a large marker in the course of the year – in the course of a period of time when I made a few changes that altered the course I was on in life, somewhat significantly. 

all of those changes have paid off but I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of change means I’m never quite feeling in control. there were times in the past year when i felt really out of control and over-scheduled, even though I was doing mostly really good things with people I wanted to be doing them with. it was ok, but there were a few times when i attempted to simplify, but didn’t maintain it. now that I’ve cycled through a new job and a new home and a new extracurricular and a new commitment, I feel like I’ve really got this. 

the quote in this picture came through to me in a newsletter a couple of weeks ago and I actually included it in another post. but again, I just can’t get it out of my mind. in an ideal world, I could focus on doing everything in front of me and somehow no balls would be dropped and enough sleep would be had and enough money would be saved and work would not suffer. but this is real life and it doesn’t work that way. instead, we get to choose how we spend our time and with who we spend it. I

‘ve been prioritizing this phrase over and over. 
and today’s accompanying photo from a few summers ago when I spent 8 days in the Denver-area is a good example. I went to Denver, stayed with friends, had awesome experiences, ate good food, and I was wholly there for the entire trip. my god it’s good to get away and do that every so often. 

I guess I’m just glad I had the opportunity to see that light again. the decisions and experiences I’ve had in the last few weeks have been eye-opening and soul-opening. and maybe with the rigidity of the enthusiastic yes/hell no idea comes a softening and a vulnerability that can only lead to better things to come. 

eat local.

i think the foodie in me began somewhere growing up – cooking old recipes with my grandma and also not being wasteful – we cooked what we could together. she showed me techniques for making applesauce, cooking eggs, and everthing in between. and growing up, we always had a good, hearty breakfast. i didn’t think a lot about where my food came from back then and at the same time, i loved growing up in a rural area surrounded by fields of fresh vegetables. when i think of Wisconsin, one of the things I think about is farming.

fast forward many years to college when i began cooking for myself and, eventually, forming more ideas about the food i put into my body. some of that stemmed from being an athlete and figuring out the best nutrients and calories i could consume for a reasonable amount of money. i ate a lot of peanut butter, and lots of in-season fruit – when the apples were aplenty, i bought tons! later, i made a connection with a local farm and learned the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed meat. not only did i learn about it, but i eventually cooked it for myself and tasted the difference. now, about 7 years later, i’m a bit of a foodie, and certainly a little bit of a food snob – at least when it comes to some things.

i am picky about it, but i eat meat because i like it and because i can go to the farm and see how it’s raised. i understand the process and the work the farmers do to make the impact on the rest of the world really small. i eat local because i think it’s important to have the things you can grow here and see and to taste the difference. it’s a way of life for me.

this past weekend, in anticipation of a tiny day-trip, my friend bought up a bunch of apples. she told me she’d bring me a bag. we all munched on apples as we traveled and talked about eating the peels and all the way to the core and how eating something so fresh and local is so good for you.

'tis the season to eat all the local apples! #eatlocal #happy #day397 #shaysstillstreaking

A photo posted by shayla (@ashiashay) on

i’m savoring each of these apples i eat. they’re the first sign of fall here in wisconsin. they are so crunchy and it’s amazing how sweet and yummy they are right now. i’ve got plans to go to the orchard and procure A LOT more.


i throw a lot of faith and metaphor and energy into running and training and it’s one of those things that can also gives back what you put in. a lot of things are like that, actually. most things. and so its not surprise to find that when you stop investing in that one thing, you likely will stop seeing the same results. it’s a pretty simple equation. 

I bought this Believe training journal late last year in hopes it would help to reignite in me the flame for running that I once had. but who am I kidding? rarely do external things – items – motivate me. instead, a few weeks ago I read an article that sort of terrified me about how your body changes and the chemical things that happen when you stop working out. is been trying to get myself back into a routine already, but that was the kick in the tail that I needed. my health is too important to keep making excuses. 

I had the idea to pull this journal out again and to forget about all the weeks I didn’t workout and the few when i was working out but not logging anything. I made a goal to sit down after my first run each week or after my last one of the week and number the days on the calendar in the week ahead. that helps! and I’ve gotten into the habit of taking it one week at a time by writing up my time/mileage goals on a week-long dry erase calendar. 

running is like a religion to me. it’s the place I go to reconnect with myself, sometimes to connect with others, and just about always to convene with Mother Nature. that’s what it’s all about, anyway. I’m glad I kept the belief alive, flickering in the corner and I’m glad to have given myself another chance to get back on the wagon. 

scratchy throats. 

the last week has been filled with all sorts of awesome. that should come as no surprise if you’re following along. today in the car coming home from a mini-overnight getaway, my youngest travel companion chimed in with a question/statement that was wise and he related it to what the eldest of us were taking to and at the same time it was the most authentic thing he could say as a young boy. 

the response, mostly from his mom was it is important to recognize the good things we have in our lives, to see where we have abundance and to be sure to recognize when maybe someone else needs some drops of that goodness in their bucket. overflowing with gratitude and love seem to be a theme in my atmosphere right now. I love that it keeps circling back, too. 

as I head into the week of my sister’s wedding, I’m thankful for my birth family and I am looking forward to adding to that clan when she and her dude tie the knot next Saturday. it’s going to be a crazy, messy, beautiful day!

and as I reflect on the week past (and the accompanying photos), it’s easy to see just how much there is to be grateful for in my life. from nature to this great city. from coaching to the family I’ve chosen here in Madison. I’m lucky. and I know it. and I’m so thankful. 

running buddy.

before i hit the road for a little road trip up north overnight, i realized i haven’t written about today’s Instagram post yet. so as i wait for my travel companions, i’m going to take a few minutes to write.

running has been the hero of my adult life. it helped me to find a focus once college rowing was over. it helped me run through a lot of feelings – giving perspective to coming out, to work, to relationships, and helping me push myself outside of my comfort zone and to challenge myself to do things i had never dreamed of doing.

sometime many years ago this girl Krista moved to Madison and shortly thereafter she met my friend Meg and then a little while after that we became running buddies. in 2010 or 2011…maybe?! this was also the time when i was trying to gain some perspective on work and we became fast friends and bestest running buddies.

its no secret that my early (and mid-twenties) were a struggle for me trying to find my place in the adult world. running helped a lot and Krista even more.

we jokingly added one another (or maybe i just added her) as a piece of “training equipment” on the website we both use to track workouts when we realized we’ve literally, and easily, run hundreds of miles together.

not so long ago our running together was easy. we lived about a mile apart and would often run to a spot – first it was the corner by Machinery Row with our friend Kristin and later it was “our tree” on the east side. Needless to say, we both live further away from one another and so our really frequent runs have turned into whenever we can get together. i cherish those miles a lot.

and today was no different. currently, because of coaching commitments, i can’t join Krista when she runs long on Saturdays which is ok, but that leaves me running along a lot of the time. but yesterday i had the idea to run two Arb loops and hoped she could join me for one. AND SHE COULD. AND SHE DID.

it’s been hot here over the past week, so i wanted to knock this one out as early as possible. i did one loop and then we sweat the crap out of a second Arb loop. it was awesome. i’m grateful for a friend and awesome running buddy in this woman. roar!!