“Ready to Start”

My final project for my Collective Storytelling class at ITP is called “Ready to Start.” We collected stories about people completing their first long distance race, be it marathons or triathlons. I worked with my classmate with Ryan Viglizzo, who is often my running partner for 9-15 mile runs on the weekend. He’s completed an Ironman and several marathons. I have finished two marathons myself. We chose to do audio interviews focused on why people decide to take on this big challenge for the first time.

In total, we conducted 9 interviews (including Ryan and I interviewing each other). Three of the interviews were of people with diabetes. As a diabetic myself, I was interested in learning more about how this big decision factors into other patients’ thinking about their health.

Jen Davino is also a type-1 diabetic. She told us her amazing story about completing an Ironman triathlon in Lake Placid. She exercised for nearly 17 hours, a truly amazing feat for anyone, let alone a diabetic. Her story highlights the challenge in keeping blood sugars in range during hours of exercise. Pre-race nerves can send your blood sugar level up, strenuous exertion can send it down, and hours of reduced insulin intake can send make it bounce back up hours later. It is challenge for all patients on top of the race itself.

It was also great to meet and interview Rachelle Glantz, another fellow type-1. She has quickly gone from not exercising at all to completing multiple races. In her opinion, making the mental decision to complete the race is the most important part. She has seen through her own experience that the body can handle this much exercise if you have the stamina to power through.

Through Rachelle, I also learned about the group Insulindependence.

According to the group’s website,

Insulindependence inspires people with diabetes to set personal fitness goals, educates them on adaptive management strategies through hands-on experience, and equips them to explore their individual capacities.

I hope to become more involved in “In,” as they refer to it. I always find it very helpful to meet other patients with diabetes. I also think it will be motivating to exercise with this group. Just talking with and interviewing Rachelle was very motivating on its own.

I am rather happy with the “Ready to Start” project. We were able to produce several really interesting interviews within a short amount of time. We created a simple, clean design with a simple portrait of each person that I shot. Post-production of this much material took a lot of time, which is just a reality of audio and video work. But I think the project was a success and provides us with a solid foundation should we choose to take it further. If Ryan and I do decide to continue the project in our free time, I would like to continue with the health focus by interviewing other patients with diabetes.

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