Shelby Madden

Exploring my limits with a bike and big (potentially dumb) ideas!

Upscale Digs

Every morning I wake up, I get a good internal laugh and external smile out of this view. This is my shower in the "off" position:
When Phaedra was here, I heard her laughing really loudly while taking a bath. When she finally found the ability to speak, she yelled out, "You know when you move furniture around and it kinda feels like you have a whole new place?" My response, "Ya...." Her reply, "Well, when you see what happened, just try to remember that and think of it as a bathroom remodel of sorts."

Apparently, the handle came off in her hand and neither of us can seem to figure out how to get it back on the right way. Well, in all honestly, we probably only spent a total of 5 minutes trying to figure it out because it looks so stupid we just ended up laughing.
So, there it has stayed and everyday, I get to wake up to a laugh. Here's to hoping you find at least one thing that makes you laugh inside and smile outside, today.
Happy Friday!

Haley's comment made me realize if I'm going to title a post, "Upscale Digs," I can't leave mention of water features alone as it is yet another visual that always brings an inner chuckle to my day. Haley once told me, in response to my comment about living in a very "urban" part of town, that if a place has a water feature, it's a solid indication of high class living. We both laughed really hard since the last place I lived in had, what I thought was, the lamest water feature ever...but it WAS a water feature so according to Haley's logic, based on I-don't-know-what, this sister was living large!
Well, when I moved, I could hardly contain my enthusiasm and quickly notified Haley of the good news; as it turns out my new place also has a water feature of even lamer proportions! If this doesn't say, "Upscale," then I know not what the word means!
Make no mistake, I love the area where I live as it has everything that is cool in my world. I just can't help but find the humor and beauty in its perfect imperfections. What's not to love about that waterfall or the copious amounts of plastic flowers planted in real soil about the shared patio space that never seem to loose their bloom and glitter and even get changed with the advent of each season or holiday?!
Still smiling.
Again, Happy Friday!

Quite simply, I'm just grateful.

My friends and I often get into conversations about how grateful we are for the lives we get to live. I'm fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who can't help but see things from this perspective. No matter how tough a moment or day may be, we can always seem to capture what was good about the overall experience and usually find at least one thing to laugh at in the process. This past week was overflowing with moments to be grateful for and I found myself feeling reflective and energized after each experience.

I've begun some preliminary efforts toward my fundraising goals for the Qualcomm Million Dollar Challenge to benefit CAF, which I will be sharing more about at the beginning of February. I sat down with several friends in the past couple of weeks to strategize and share ideas; their enthusiasm has been awesome! It really does feel like I have a small army backing me on this one. I was so afraid of this fundraising task but now I can already see this is not only going to be fun, it's bringing out the generosity and creative best in some of my favorite people.

Also, I'm already assembling some raffle/auction items from what feels like my own personal version of Oprah's "Favorite Things" episodes. I just keep hitting up the restaurants and stores I frequent and they've all been very generous. See?! It pays to be a terrible cook! I will definitely be needing many more items but I am just incredibly grateful for the response I've gotten so far. Below are some of the local establishments that have started me off:


If you're familiar with any of these places, you know how awesome they are; if you've never been, check them out or be ready to buy some raffle tickets for a chance to win a free sampling of their greatness. I have many more establishments that I am loyal to (remember, I don't cook) and will be visiting in the next few weeks but I just felt the need to share what my week has been like so far, a great time of connecting with friends and an opportunity to highlight local businesses that I love.

My friends Liana and Pearl (ages 8 and 6) recently made me a sweet little box with affirmation cards to pull each day. They have pretty cool parents, to say the least. Today I pulled a card that said, "Release limiting beliefs."
I'm on it.
Thanks for reading!

Holidays Happen

I'm REALLY proficient at playing. Seriously, I have friends who get bored on the extended breaks we get in teaching and actually can't wait to get back to work. Me? Not so much. It's not that I don't love my job and feel exceptionally fortunate for the team of people I get to work and learn with everyday but I'm just really good at achieving vacation Zen. I don't get bored, ever, even when there's nothing to do. So far, this winter break has been no exception. I'm having a jolly good time riding with friends, catching up with old favorites and getting my sleep on. I love having time to play and the weather here is more than conducive to this.

With that said, my coach, who has been so diligent on his end in preparing a detailed plan to get me acclimated to extended periods of riding, has just sent me an email that I'm hesitating in responding to. I haven't been a very disciplined student and much of my extra-curricular-outside-of-training, play is interfering with the careful plan he has laid out for me. I think I'm going to have to start the first four weeks over again. I'm sorry Brian!

Despite the fact that I haven't been putting in the mileage and hours as prescribed, I have had some amazing times lately. The other day, one of my favorite TCSD members, Gerry Foreman, introduced me to a fun 30-mile trip over Torrey Pines and into La Jolla. There are a few good hills to climb on this route but more importantly, Gerry has been telling me for months about the incredible apple dumplings at Squires Deli/Bakery in La Jolla. This route includes Squires as a requisite layover. I couldn't wait to try them and as promised, they didn't disappoint! I ended up doing the ride again with Phaedra just so she could experience them herself and I've just convinced another friend to do this ride with me only he doesn't even know what's in store for him tomorrow at the halfway point! Here's my buddy Gerry enjoying his a.d. (He brought another one home in his jersey for his wife, Dee. I LOVE that!)

Another ride was intended to be the ol' Great Western Loop route, but was cut short for "health reasons." What made this 24-mile ride extra special was that it was with Phaedra and Mr. Holland. I wanted these two to meet for a long time because there's nothing better than when your world of favorites end up in the same space. Here's a picture of P & B before we hit the road

And now me and B minutes later...

I added both of these pics because in studying them, I do believe Bill is mocking us. That is an undeniably sarcastic, over-the-top-energetic expression he's sporting while my funny little buddy and I look a little rough. Bill is quiet but he should never be underestimated in his ability to deliver comedy.

Unfortunately, this much anticipated ride was altered due to the fact that Phaedra and I, having not seen each other in months, had waaay too much fun the previous evening. By the time we met Bill the next morning, we were really hoping to talk him into ditching the ride and heading straight to breakfast. It was wishful thinking and really, I should've known that idea would never fly with him. He laughed at us and proceeded to pull our bikes out of the car, putting them together and pumping our tires to, what I'd like to think, were the meditative sounds of our moaning. My original plan was to leave ahead of them so I wouldn't have to work so pickin' hard to stay with them but they wouldn't let me. Even with their promise of taking it easy and "cruising," I knew I was in trouble. So, while they chatted away, I held on for dear life behind them with an occasional "uh-huh," and after eight minutes of "cruising," I was seriously ready to puke.

Sometimes I exaggerate but I was working harder than I ever wanted to work on that particular day and they were actually working really hard at holding back. In fact, I'm pretty sure I saw them unclip from time to time and just push along, Fred Flintstone style, just to keep me in their vicinity. It was humbling.

Thank god I convinced them both to just GO once we got to the bottom of the Dehesa climb and go they did. How the heck do people ride that fast?! Seriously, it's body boggling and inspiring at the same time. When I finally met them at the top, they packed up their picnic lunch and Phaedra decided she had had enough for the day. Racing Bill up to the top finally gave her a taste of what the last 12 miles had been for me (brutal) and we all decided that breakfast was a better idea than heading out on the rest of the loop. I'm pretty sure Bill only conceded because he was sick of our whining but I pretended not to notice. We ended our ride with Mexican fare, story telling and laughs! The much anticipated ride was perfectly imperfect!

Later that same day, we met up with another Brian, Brian Wrona, to help set-up the distances for the first ever TCSD "Y2K When You Can 10K?" race on New Year's Eve. I use the term help loosely because Brian did all the work. I like to think of myself as the "Ideas Person." Actually, I intended to do more but he's just an exceptionally competent race director and had it handled. Here's P entertaining herself while Brian was off working

And here's Brian returning from measuring the course on Phaedra's bike and feeling notably aero (or fetal) with his knees to his chin

Everyone appeared to have a great time at the race despite the fact the 5K was long and the 10K was short. Brian couldn't remember which city sign was the targeted turn around point for the 5K and since Phaedra and I were NO help the previous day, he was on his own with his memory. (Not that our collective memories would have served him any better!) Personally, I loved the last minute course alteration and thought the mix-up was totally appropriate for a race that I might be involved in planning. Just think of the character building that went on during that race! The 5K people were pushing harder than they ever though possible just to get their times right and the 10K people all PR'd! Here are a few of the fabulous and fun participants sporting their T-shirts donated by Timex

With the holidays behind me, it's time to get serious about putting in the miles both on my bike and in the pool. I have upcoming events and races that I know will take effort in the weeks to come and I intend to get myself ready with my coach's guidance. In saying that, it just occurred to me that Brian from Triathlon Lifestyle Coaching has, in some sense, attached his coaching reputation to others and myself. With that realization, I am inspired to work that much harder if for no other reason than to avoid what Miss South Carolina most assuredly did to her public speaking coach in this unforgettable moment

Sorry, sorry, sorry! I couldn't resist. Anyone who knows me, knows I will do and have done the athletic, professional and personal version of this type of bawk, on more than one occasion, so I feel your pain Miss SC. For you it was an event, for me, a life story with endless laughable moments.
Happy New Year, Everyone! Cheers!