The Finish Line By Brittany Hughes

I think that, for me, this project really started when I decided to run a marathon. I knew that undertaking such a task was not going to be an easy one, and I wanted to document the experience in some way. So, on the first day of class, my mind immediately went to running as a possible project topic, and after a few weeks of uncertainty, that was the topic with which I stuck.

your house is at the end of this; just get home

I think the print assignment was where my project truly got an identity. When I first started, I wanted it to be about grit, toughness, the ability to keep going. In interviewing Courtney, I got that and more, but with a peace I hadn't previously thought of. For her, the goal was to just keep going. Don't quit just because it hurts--you're running; it's going to hurt. Using the print medium first was good for me--it was a little easier than I originally expected to get everything typed up; I seem to get my best thoughts out when I'm writing, as opposed to video or audio. I got to lay her story out and put the pieces together in a way that made sense; looking back, I can see that my InDesign article was the biggest foundation of my documentary because it was the only medium where I truly got to flesh out all of Courtney's individual story.

the prettiest/hilliest 7 miles you'll ever run

The podcast was next, and what I really wanted to do was sit down and just talk about running; I felt like I hadn't gotten to have my say on the project yet. Unfortunately, I took the podcast a different way than I had originally intended and ended up interviewing a marathoner in my neighborhood at home. He was a good interview, but not what I was looking for; especially because one of the limitations of the podcast is that you can't see who is talking, therefore it has to be very compelling audio to keep the audience hooked. I don't feel like my podcast exemplified that, good interview or no.

four miles if you try hard enough

I turned back to Courtney for the documentary--she was the primary subject, with myself in a few shots and another marathoner, Kelly Roberts, providing additional audio of her first marathon experience. This medium was challenging for me--figuring out how to tell the story I wanted to tell without embellishment was the primary challenge; I don't quite think there is a way to accurately convey the mental toughness that it takes to run. I could film Courtney running a 20-mile long run and you'd see her face get red and hear that she was out of breath, but actually hearing what she was thinking at mile 19 when every muscle in her body was stinging and her legs were chafing and she was hungry and a little sleepy and just wanted to lie down, yet simultaneously was stubborn enough to keep going? That's very difficult to capture on film, and though I tried, I don't think I really did her story justice until I decided to add the audio from Kelly, who is a very good storyteller. The tale of when she almost gave up during her first marathon was exactly the sort of thing my documentary needed to feel complete.

12 miles...maybe you'll run all of it next year

My favorite project is my Spark page. Finally, finally, I was able to get out my thoughts, to write down how I felt about all of this. I got to share my story, my first marathon experience fresh off the race, which was really why I decided to do my project on running in the first place. Maybe that's self-centered, maybe it isn't--all I know is that writing that Spark page took me about 10 minutes, and I couldn't imagine a medium more perfectly suited for that narrative. One long, continuous scroll? The similarities between that and a marathon seemed uncanny to me, so I just typed. My only trouble with the Spark page was the issue of adding pictures: should I, or shouldn't I? On the one hand, it was a cool narrative that didn't necessarily need to be broken up with pictures, but on the other was a long narrative that perhaps should be broken up with pictures. It was funny to see that the class was just as undecided as I was.

speedwork mondays--ignore all passersby

The app was fun, and I don't think there's another way that I can describe it. I got to work again with my narrative from the Spark page, but this time add a few suggestions I received when I shared the narrative in class. I added mile markers, like Embee suggested, and pictures, like Carolyn suggested. Hearing what the rest of the class had to say about my Spark page formed the base of this app because while I agreed with some of their suggestions, I didn't think that Spark was the medium to do it--the app, on the other hand, was the perfect medium to lay out their critiques.

five miles if you do that extra bit at the end

I'm proud of my project. I accomplished the goal I set out with, which was to show everyone what it was like to train for and run a marathon. Different media told different stories--my Spark page narrative wouldn't have been very good as an InDesign page, and Courtney's InDesign page wouldn't have worked as well on Spark. I know there's room for improvement in all of this--lots and lots of room, but I learned a lesson in this class: you have to let yourself work. Stop worrying about the formatting or whatever else--just get your story out there, and the rest will come together. So when I use media in the future (writing, definitely), I want to remember that lesson, because I got all my best work done when I didn't worry about the specific requirements of the project or whether that font was too big or too small--if I just told the story, it all worked out.

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