I am Ally Spiroff, and what seems like seven short years ago I created a Twitter account, @runningforlife2. I tweeted how I felt and what I was doing. I tweeted about my greatest passion in life, running. I also tweeted about my other passions, food, music, movies, books, pop culture, writing, traveling, and life. Before I knew it, people (mostly those people in the running community but others too) began to latch onto my life. Then, I realized, “hey, this Twitter thing is pretty cool.” I get to write about what I love. I get to tell my story. The world around me, all of my people, get to ride along with me as I take on the world, one day at a time. People can watch me grow. I can watch other people grow. The username has evolved from @runningforlife2 to @allyspiroff, but never fear because the spunk and the content are the same.
So what exactly is my story? Who exactly is Ally Spiroff? I graduated from the Digital Media & Storytelling Master’s program at Loyola University Chicago in May 2017. I was a Division I collegiate athlete there for five years. I graduated with high honors in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s in English. In the winter/spring of 2015-2016 due to a redshirt season of indoor and outdoor track, I returned to run a fifth year.
Since I have always thought that it is more fun to jump over water and other obstacles than just run normal laps around the track and I like a good challenge, I am a steeplechaser by nature. I had the opportunity to chase fast steeple times for one more season at Loyola, as well as to run the 3k, 5k, and even the mile/1500 with my teammates that double as my best friends, sisters, inspirations, and the greatest people you will ever meet.
Now, I am coming into my own as a marathoner. I made my marathon debut in the fall of 2016 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, finishing in the top one percent of females and the top three percent overall with a time of 3:06. I was registered for NYC and Boston in 2017-2018, but a couple of injuries have hindered my training at key moments and I’ve been sidelined for those races. On the upswing now, I’ve been training with a new club team, Central Park Track Club, and have seen amazing progress.
I’m going to do some shorter races this summer to continue to see what kind of damage I can do on the roads post collegiately and to test my limits. For my next big marathon, I’ll return to Chicago in October 2018, with the goal of breaking three hours and therefore qualifying for Berlin. Once I get to Berlin, I’ll see how close I can get to Olympic Marathon Trials B standard (sub-2:45). I’ll also check another box off to getting closer to a world record I’m chasing, of being the youngest woman to complete all six World Marathon Majors.
Now, you might ask, how could I still run at Loyola if I graduated in the spring of 2015? I started the cutting-edge graduate program Digital Media & Storytelling at Loyola in the fall of 2015. Fast forward to May 2017, and I now have my Master’s degree in Communications.
After obtaining an English degree and taking other communications/journalism courses, I have become an experienced writer and researcher. Through graduate work, I have become well versed in Adobe Creative Commons software programs—specifically Photoshop, InDesign, and shooting and editing video in Premiere Pro—and in Google Analytics, along with other search engine optimization tools. Through internships and my most recent editorial assistant experience, I have become extremely proficient in news editing software programs. I have lots of experience in the newsroom and writing for news producers, as well as out in the field on assignment and in working with a variety of people.
I am a budding digital journalist, content creator, and social strategist. In the fall of 2017, I interned at Rodale—the former publisher of Runner’s World, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Bicycling, Organic Life, Prevention, and more — in New York City, and, since November 2017, I’ve become the Digital Editorial Assistant at Runner’s World. Since March 2018, after Rodale was sold to Hearst, I’ve been filling in at Hearst as the Social Media Editor at both Runner’s World and Bicycling magazines. I am also a freelance writer for VICE‘s health vertical, Tonic, as well as at Fitt, an up-and-coming health/fitness trends and guides—categorized by city— website and app. I really love what I get to do for a living: tell people’s stories. I have big dreams. I do not know where my dreams will take me, but I am confident that they will take me far.
My experience as an undergraduate and a graduate student while simultaneously being a Division I collegiate athlete on Loyola’s cross country and track and field teams as well as in a variety of jobs, internships, and volunteer work has helped develop my confidence, drive, responsibility, time management, sense of teamwork, people skills, communication, troubleshooting skills, attention to detail, critical thinking skills, leadership, planning skills, and even a sense of humor.
I also have extensive experience with all outlets of social media. As I mentioned before, I am an avid tweeter and Instagram user, with 1,460+ followers on Twitter and 1,240+ on Instagram. I run the website I created for my graduate school capstone project, titled “Wise Old Women.” I am plugged in on Pinterest, Foursquare/Swarm, Vimeo, and Facebook as well. Because I am just as much of a music and food nerd as I am a running nerd, I wrote Chicago restaurant guides and reviews as well as concert and album reviews in the arts and entertainment section of my university’s newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. You can also catch me on LinkedIn.
I am an open book. I like sharing myself with anybody who wants to listen. I am enjoying the opportunity to learn new skills every day and perfect my craft. I believe that even if school stops, education never stops. I love learning something new every single day, about myself, others, and the world around me. Besides being a multimedia journalist and a city dweller, I am a literature (Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath are my favorites) and grammar nerd, a hippie, a music fanatic, a foodie (as I mentioned before), a concert-goer, a traveler, a huge sports fan, a fashionista, an art lover, and an urban explorer who likes natural adventures as well (like hiking up mountains in Alaska).
Wherever I go and whatever I do, I conquer it. I was born and raised in Milwaukee, though, and no matter where I go, I never forget my roots. Milwaukee will always be my city and where my heart truly lies.
I am everyone’s sister. I am nutty but in a way that I like it. I think that God is so good and we are blessed to get to walk this earth every day. I am dreaming big, with my head in the clouds, but there is still some common sense in there. 😉
Turning over a new leaf in my life, at the start of grad school, I wanted to create a comprehensive website where I could connect you to all of my social media outlets. I will continue to share my career path, running experiences, and life journey through this awesome outlet we now have called the World Wide Web, and I hope that everyone continues to enjoy all things Ally Spiroff.
Peace, love, and running (fast),