Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just found this article on Athletes For Hope from late May

Mark Hollis Hosts Pole Vaulting Workshop for Group from Salvation Army

Mark Hollis Hosts Pole Vaulting Workshop for Group from Salvation Army
On Tuesday, May 25th, Mark Hollis reunited with the Elkhart Salvation Army, where he had recently been to work with the children and teach them about his pole vaulting experiences. This time the children took a trip to Memorial High School where Mark coaches pole vaulting. There they were able to see for themselves what Mark’s job is like. Mark built off his last visit with the kids, reviewing the basics of his sport, and discussing his journey. Then he demonstrated a variety of pole vaulting techniques, impressing the children with his skills. Lastly, the kids eagerly participated in different drills that Mark taught them. It was a very special experience for the children to see Mark pole vault, and they loved having the opportunity to try it out for themselves.

More Pictures From Mark's Visit

Always Pursuing -Mark-

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rottach Egern and Heusden

Alright Ive had 2 meets since my last post on Greece, one went really well and the other not so much, but sometimes thats the way it goes, and all you can do is try to learn from both the good and the bad. 

We arrived in Rottach-Egern, Germany on the 2nd of July, Rottach is one of about 4 villages that surround a lake deep in the heart of Bavarian Germany.  There was a mountain stream running through our hotel that was probably around 45 degrees that we got in everyday we were there to ice our legs and help them recover, it was awesome, colder than anything else ive ever been in.  The day before the meet we went up on the side of this moutain and had a tradition bavarian meal, which included music, sausage and cheese, and those riccola guys with the huge horns.  All of this while looking over the lake and the villages below, just beautiful. 

We vaulted on the 4th of July, right in the middle of this town, it was one of the best set up street vaults ive done, the runway was great, the wind was at our backs the whole time we jumped and the crowd was pretty awesome.  I might also just be saying this because it was the best meet of my life.  The whole day leading up to the competition i had a good feeling about the meet and how i was going to jump.  Like i said in my last post, i used the meet in greece to try out the longer poles and try to get a feel for them.  Well i went into this meet knowing i could jump on the 5.10m poles i just didnt really know when.  So i started warmups on my regular poles, and was feeling awesome!  I was getting thrown off the tops of every pole i was jumping on, so by the end of warmups i had jumped on the 5.10m 13.5flex and even taken up the 13.2 once. 

The meet started at about 5.10m 16'9" I think, because warmups went so well i passed to 5.45m 17'9" my first jump I made the bar by about a foot and a half.  Since that went so well and i knew i was going up a pole i decided to pass to 5.65m 18'6" to conserve energy to try and vault a personal best.  I made 5.65 by about a foot, and decided to jump at 5.70m 18'8" since i hadnt jumped it this year and I was going up to the 5.10 13.2 and wasnt too sure where to put the standards.  First one i had lots of height but went off to the right and missed, second was pretty good i just came down on the bar.  So its down to third attempt at 5.70m at this point i think 3 guys had already made it so i was sitting in 4th or so, I was standing on the back off the runway trying to get pumped up and the DJ puts on this Bavarian song with horns and accordions HAHA.   I got the crowd going clapping it up, came down the runway and had just a perfect jump, came a little off the pole but got it right back under me and had a clean clearance.  It always feels good to jump a season best but the thing i really wanted was that personal best.

The bar goes up to 5.75m 18'10" which is my current PB which i jumped in 2008 at the university of Illinois, so its been a little while since i had been back up there, and to tell you the truth it was starting to eat at me.  I knew i was capable of jumping higher but the results had just not come.  So first attempt i come down with the 5.10m 13.2 and its way to small, i nail the bar on the way up.  I have one more pole in my bag, a 5.10m 12.8flex which is a pretty big pole.  I grab it, tape it up, get on the runway come screaming down the runway, probably faster than i ever have and make the bar cleanly!!!!!!!!!!! Pandemonium breaks out, not only from me screaming and nearly crying from the relief of finally jumping it again but i had just broke the meet record!    Noone else had jumped the bar, 2 guys passed the height and went up to 5.80m 19ft  and the others went out.  So the bar goes up to 5.80m and Rafael Holdzeppe comes down and makes the bar first attempt, what a jerk haha,  I had 3 really good tries at it and had about 6 inches over the bar but just came down on it.  So i was kinda bummed i didnt make that next bar but still happy with the way i jumped. 

We left Rottach the next day and traveled to Munich where we spent 5 days with Jeff Ryan, and American vaulter who is living and training in Munich for the summer.  We had a great time filled with training at the German Olympic training center, which was pretty cool.  We were also able to go to the public viewing of the semifinal World Cup game between Germany and Spain in the Olympic Stadium.  There were about 40,000 people there to see it, and even tho Germany lost it was still a great time. 

Friday we took the train from Munich to Hasselt, Belgium which took around 8 hours.  We jumped in Heusden, Belgium the next day.  The track was nice the pits were nice and runway felt pretty good.  There was a headwind the entire competition that really starts to mess with your run, I came in at 5.30m 17"5 and was able to make it easy 2nd attempt.  I passes to 5.50m 18ft and just wasnt hitting the takeoff very well and ended up coming down on the bar 3 times.  So i was pretty dissapointed with how i jumped, but i realize thats how things go, the best can jump well no matter the conditions so i know that i still have work to do.  I did get a spasm in my back in Munich on Wednesday so that probably had something to do with it as well. 

Now were here in Liege, Belgium for my final meet of this trip.  It could be tricky the wind looks pretty strong, and yesterday the winds were swirling in the stadium a bit, but hopefully they wont affect us too much.  we vault at 7:50pm local time, 1:50pm eastern time.  My back is still bothering me a bit but hopefully when i start moving around it will loosen up.  Im excited for the meet but im more excited about coming home to see my wife who i havent seen in over 2 weeks and our first anniversary is on Sunday.  Alright i will have a long plane ride home tomorrow to blog so im gonna do it, I will have something on here that says how i did.

Always Pursuing -Mark-

Friday, July 2, 2010


Well I flew to Athens Greece on monday from chicago, I left at 2pm and landed in Athens at 2pm the next day, and I don't think I slept at all. Then after I landed I got on a bus for 3 and a half hours to get to Patra which is where the meet was. The meet was on wednesday in the afternoon so at least I had a little time to get some rest. Well I woke up the next morning and felt like I had been sitting on a plane for about 14 hours.
We went to the track at about 5 and were able to warm up inside which was nice since it was pretty hot outside. Warmups started and my legs just felt a bit heavy but I did my best to work through it. The plan was since the meet was appearance money only and no prize money that I would make a low bar on my usual pole and then go up to the 5.10m poles right now I'm 5m but to get to the next level the 5.10's will help a lot. So I came in at 5.30m 17'5", and made it first attempt, the next bar was 5.45m 17'9" so I went up to a 5.10m 13.5 flex, now since my legs weren't feeling that great my run wasn't that great but I knew that the pole was just the right size and after making a few adjustments I made the bar on my third attempt. The next bar was 5.55m 18'2", and I had a few good attempts at it but couldn't keep the bar up. I finished third behind Jeremy Scott and Fabian Shultz, a german vaulter who both jumped 5.55m. I was fairly happy with the way I jumped especially since I wasn't feeling great and was still able to jump on that pole.
Yesterday we flew from Athens to Munich and then had a short bus ride to a little bavarian town Rottach-egern. Its right next to a lake and the mountains and the last 2 days have been relaxing. Yesterday after a jog we got into this mountain stream which must have been below 50 degrees, so it was perfect as an ice bath for the legs. Today we went into the stream again after a workout and then walked down to the lake where we found a great place to dive in, and it wasn't very warm but it was much better than the stream. We jump here on sunday, by we I mean Jeremy and I, along with Giovani Lanaro from Mexico, Jason Colwick another American and about 4 or 5 germans and a few others. It should be a great day its supposed to be warm and sunny and have a great taiwind for the vault. I've uploaded some pictures to facebook so you can check those out if you'd like. Alright time for bed.

Always Pursuing,