@runningforlife2: update edition

Guys!!! It’s been a while. What’s up?! How are you?! I hope that everyone reading this post is having an amazing summer so far.

I certainly am having an amazing summer so far, which is why it has been a while since you have received any updates from me. I am big believer in the concepts of no excuses though, so I have to get this blog out and tell you what is UP in my world.

The running world:

I cannot believe that my last Division I collegiate track season is over. It is crazy how fast five years of eligibility blew by, no pun intended (jk definitely pun intended). I never even wrote a post about it, but if any of you follow me on Twitter, you can always get an immediate @runningforlife2 life update on there. I broadcast my life on there pretty much daily.

If you do look at my Twitter often, you know that I dealt with yet another foot injury this outdoor season. I had a stress fracture in my left foot, third metatarsal. Every runner knows that hearing the words “stress fracture” uttered out of your doctor’s mouth after an MRI are the worst words you could possibly hear. A stress fracture means no running for at least six weeks, and all of the baggage to go with it, mostly the walking boot, which everyone knows is just an absolute joy (jk, sarcasm, boots are THE WORST). For me, it meant eight weeks no running, the boot, and very, very intense swimming and biking workouts in a desperate attempt to maintain some fitness and finish out my last outdoor track season ever at the conference meet.

It was super unfortunate because I was coming off a career best end to an indoor season, with a new 3k PR which set me up near the converted time that I needed to run in the steeplechase to qualify for NCAA first rounds. All the stars were aligning, as planned, and I was super fit and all of my training from fall and winter was starting to pay off in a big way. Of course, my feet are super temperamental and decided they did not want to wait until the end of the track season to break (literally, I mean break). During my last steeple season?! Really?! I mean. Come. ON. I have had frequent foot injuries, but mostly they have just been small tendon issues. I have not had a stress fracture since freshman year of college (hence, the fifth year). I was definitely heartbroken, cried it out for a few days, knowing that the injury would sideline me for potentially all of my last season and that I will be slowly watching my NCAA first round dreams and goals I have had for the past five years slip away. Words cannot really describe quite how tough it was.

Enough with the moping, though: I snapped the heck out of it, thanks, in large part, to my coach (God bless her soul). Of course, she moped with me, but then said words that rung in my ears throughout the spring every time I was hammering laps in the pool or miles on the bike: “You still have time.”

Time I had indeed. She believed that I could come back for conference, and, once she believed, I believed that I could too. After that day, early on after my injury, I put it in my mind that although I could not have all my dreams come true, that I was going to prove to other people and mostly also to myself that I could come back after eight weeks not running and compete in the conference championship steeplechase finals. It would take a lot of hours in pool, on the bike, and running on the Alter-G (anti-gravity treadmill in which you can run on half of your body weight), but I was up for the challenge. Ally Spiroff is all about the challenges. If I do not have challenges, I do not know what the point of life is.

Guess what? I did the damn thing. I got to the conference steeplechase finals. The week leading up to conference was my first week back running on the ground. I think I went for two runs, one on turf, and did one running workout (a very modified workout). I even used the elliptical in our hotel (while blasting Beyonce’s new album on speakers of course) as a pre-meet run. When was the last time I, or anyone really, did the elliptical to Beyonce as a pre-meet run? Yeah, I thought so too… I jumped hurdles once. Once in hmmmm… I don’t know… A lot of months.

None of it mattered though. What mattered is that I got to toe the line one last time as a Rambler, as a collegiate steeplechaser, with my training partners, with all of those people that helped me get there and my whole support system surrounding me. The race felt like pure hell (being out of running shape despite hours of cross training is just totally not cool and fun, especially at the conference meet level), but despite the slow time and not the place I could have been if I had been running all season, it was one of my proudest collegiate running accomplishments ever.

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I saved all my hotel key cards from cross country and track trips, so I thought it was pretty cool and that I would show you guys!
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The graduating seniors of LUTF. Bang.
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My Steeple Peeple ❤

So, yeah, life does not always go completely your way, but you have to make the best out of what you have been given. Sometimes, the rewards you get through struggle are far greater than anything you could experience if your life went perfectly all the time. Looking back at my collegiate running career, as always with running, there have been some serious highs and serious lows, but mostly highs. Really high highs. I am a much better runner and a person than when I started, and the people I have met running have changed my life. Even though being a collegiate runner basically is your college experience and you have to make a lot of sacrifices that a normal college kid would not have to make, I would not change it for anything. They are not sacrifices, either, when you love what you do and you want to be the best at it. I am so grateful for my teammates, who are all family to me now. I am especially grateful for the girls team, in which I have met some of the best friends I will ever have and they are all my sisters now. I am thankful for my coaches, my parents, my brother, and all of my extended family, blood or by choice, that has supported me throughout all of my collegiate career (and my high school career too, hollllllaaa). Much love always. Y’all are the best.

Enough with the sap! The best part about running is you do not ever have to stop competing. I still have hella big running goals that span an entire lifetime. Aka. It’s marathon time, baby! I am excited to announce that I will be running the Chicago Marathon 2016. I am running with a few of my former teammates, as they are still my training partners and roommates. I am looking for the BQ and the NYCQ. Yeah, I know it is my first marathon, but I know I am good and I like to achieve high quality goals. I feel like Pablo, you know?

I am also happy to announce that after a couple weeks off after the conference steeplechase (much needed, physically and mentally), I am very much back in the running game. NO FOOT PAIN EITHER! GOD BLESS! I am slowly building back up my mileage so I can get back up to doing workouts at a fast pace comfortably and back in top form for the marathon. It’s in early October, which gives me plenty of time to build and an exciting summer of training ahead!!

The school world:

I am actually writing this post from LONDON!! What what!! I am studying abroad for a little summer grad school action. The course I am taking is International Public Relations, but honestly the course could have been anything and I would have taken it. I have been waiting to study abroad all of my undergraduate career, but never could find the time because of track and cross country. Now, I have the opportunity to take an elective abroad in graduate school, so I am seizing the heck out of it.

International PR has been a really interesting class. I have never taken a PR class, so it was a neat experience for me to have here, especially on a global scale. I learned a lot, in the books and outside of the books, while traveling in Europe (I also made one more European stop on my tour: in Roma with a few of my running Rambler women who were also studying abroad!). It has been an amazing experience for me, one of a lifetime. As cheesy as it may sound, it is all incredibly true.

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My class in London on one of many field trips.

Oh, and keep checking for lots of pictures on my Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr pages. Travel updates are definitely all over that social media.

The work world:

As for the rest of the summer, I am working at a bike rental shop on the beach. Outdoors, renting bikes, working with a bunch of your friends? It does not really get much better. I have worked a lot of odd summer jobs, but this one is definitely one of the most fun and entertaining jobs I have ever worked.

Also, I wanted to give a shout out to the young people working service jobs this summer, like mine. Do not be ashamed of your job just because you do not have some fancy pants summer internship at corporate office XYZ. OWN IT! Honestly, I will remember my fun summer service jobs for the rest of my life. You learn so much about people and gain so much experience that cannot be directly found in the academic world or in an office. Real life people experience! Coming from a generation that is always on their phones and electronic devices, we could all use more real life people experience. Plus, do not be afraid to have fun with it.

I am also on the horizon of looking for a really cool fall internship, though. So, if any cool people are reading this post, I am Ally Spiroff and I would love to intern with you. You will never regret hiring me to write for you and do whatever else you ask at the highest quality. Once again, I feel like Pablo.

Alright peeps, it’s time for me to get back to hanging out with the Queen of England. We have afternoon tea scheduled, and I do not want to keep her waiting. FYI, we are going to be discussing nothing about the Brexit. We will strictly be discussing the Euro Cup.

Peace, love, and running (fast),

Ally Spiroff

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Do I look British yet?

 

Published by Ally Spiroff

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 Twitter handle has evolved into @allyspiroff over time. With it, the content has also evolved, but the same crazy woman is behind the content. :) So what exactly is my story? Who exactly is Ally Spiroff? I graduated with a Master's in Communication from Loyola University Chicago in May 2017. I was a Division I collegiate athlete there for five years, all four of my undergraduate and one of my graduate years. I graduated with honors in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s in English. In the winter/spring 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 got to chase fast steeple times for one more season at Loyola, as well as 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, you might ask, how did I still run at Loyola if I graduated in the spring of 2015? I started the cutting-edge graduate program Digital Media & Storytelling in the fall of 2016 at Loyola. It was a two-year program, so I was blessed with another year at the wonderful Jesuit institution to finish up my Master's degree. After obtaining both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I have become an experienced writer and researcher. Through graduate work, I have become well versed in Adobe Creative Commons software programs, specifically Photoshop and shooting and editing video in Premiere Pro, and in Google Analytics, along with other search engine optimization tools. Through an abundance of internship experience, I became 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. My experience as an undergraduate and a graduate student while simultaneously being a Division I collegiate athlete on Loyola’s cross country and track 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 1,450+ followers on Twitter. I have lots of experience with creating and building content for websites. I also run the website I created for my graduate school capstone project, titled "Wise Old Women." I am on Pinterest, Foursquare/Swarm, and Facebook as well. I wrote in the arts and entertainment section of my university’s award-winning newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. You can find my running profile on the Loyola Ramblers website. You can find all about my collegiate running career on TFRRS. Of course, you can also catch me on LinkedIn. I am lucky because I get to tell people’s stories for a living online, through digital media and other means. Currently, I live in New York City and I'm the Digital Editorial Assistant at Runner's World magazine, and I'm a freelance writer for VICE's health vertical, Tonic. I really love life. I have big dreams. I do not know where my dreams will take me, but I am confident that they will take me far. I am an open book. I like sharing myself with anybody who wants to listen. I am enjoying the opportunity to further my education every day and perfect my craft. 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 (Hemingway and Plath are my favorites) and grammar nerd, a hippie, a music fanatic, a foodie, a concert-goer, a traveler, a huge sports fan, a fashionista, an art lover, and an urban explorer who likes natural adventures (like hiking up mountains in Alaska) as well. 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 have quite the eye for unique knick-knacks. My spirit animals are the grasshopper and the gazelle. When I take the Essential Enneagram Test, I am #3. I am a hard worker with relentless energy. 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 believe that every person has the right to be exactly who they are. I am dreaming big, with my head in the clouds, but there is still some common sense in there somewhere. ;) 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 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), Ally Spiroff

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