Thursday, May 15, 2014


So many times Ill jump on here and have no idea what I'm going to write, just knowing its about that time to post something.  I probably should have plenty to write about, I'm jumping better than I ever have, Ive jumped 5.60m 18'4" or higher in my last 6 of 7 meets, which is higher than I jumped all of last year!  In my last meet I jumped 5.71m 18'9" which is the highest Ive jumped since 2010 and the last time I jumped this high this early was 2008 when I jumped 5.75m 18'10" around the same time of the year.  So whats different?  Whats the secret?  What are you guys doing down there in Knoxville that's making such a difference? 

 These are questions Ive asked myself as well, because I'm doing basically the same workouts Ive always done, I'm jumping the same volume, jumping on the same size poles, but evidently something is different. Could it be the difference is not only having direction every day but more importantly believing in that direction?  In the past Ive been quick to move on to something else because I wasn't seeing results in the time frame I wanted to see them.  When I moved to Knoxville to work with Tim Mack I put aside everything I thought I knew about the vault, because if this was going to work I needed to trust my coach completely.  There were times I wanted to argue that my way was better, but then I realized I would be telling Tim Mack I thought I was smarter than him!  Isn't that what we do when we argue with a coach or do a workout differently than they have instructed?  Aren't we saying thanks for your help but I'm smarter than you are?  Tim, like all coaches, has more experience and knowledge than the athletes they coach .  Even though some things were different than what I had learned, I chose to believe the path we're taking was better than what I had done in the past.  

For most of the athletes reading this post this is the most important time of your year.  Conference, Regionals, Sectionals, State and Nationals are either coming up or happening now.  Now is the time when all of the work you've done pays off!  This is the time to do everything you've been working on the best you can, not to all of a sudden try something new because its a big meet!  Trust your training, your coach, your poles and jump your best!  

As for me my season is still just beginning, I'm improving daily, my practices are better and better and I'm excited for what this season is going to hold.  I'm going to Beijing, China on Sunday for a meet next Wednesday, I jumped there last year and I'm pumped to go back and jump high!  I believe a PR is in my near future, and its about time!  

Believe in what your doing, belief builds confidence and confidence makes the impossible possible.  

Always Pursuing -Mark-

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Every walk into an airport with your poles and get stopped by 12 different people asking you what your carrying?  I know I have!  Well now you dont have to worry even when travelling abroad!  This shirt represents the bond we share surpasses any language barrier.  Pre-order yours now, hoping to have them in a month!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ive been training for this

Ive been training for this, Ive been training for this.  This has been my mantra of 2014, especially now in my down time between the indoor season and the start of the outdoor season.  This time of the season when the big meets are far off its easy to just "get through" workouts.  To go through the motions of a short run practice or a speed endurance workout.  The truth is in track and field and all sports we put a big emphasis on the end of the season, the state meet, nationals, playoffs.  We want to be better than we've ever been or to "peak" at the time of those big competitions.   Its funny that we get so frustrated when we don't jump a personal best or run our best time early in the year.  We admit that we are training for the end of the season but get so down on ourselves when we don't have breakthrough performances in March and April, I'm guilty of this as well.  

What Ive realized is that Ive been training my whole life for this day, this workout, this repetition or this meet.  Every time Ive failed at this exercise or drill has brought me closer to doing it better and better, which means that if I fail a little bit less today than i did yesterday I'm that much closer to perfection.  This helps immensely in these early season meets, If we can go into a meet and do our very best for that day we can be happy with whatever the outcome.  If we trust the process, trust our coaches and believe they are smarter than us and they have our best interests in mind we can be OK with not jumping personal bests early in the season because its just a stepping stone towards the finish line.  

How good can you be today?  I don't care if its a Tuesday and your jumping from short run and doing drills you don't care about.  How good can you do those drills?  Can you build on how you did those drills last week and do them the best you can today?  Try telling yourself you've been training for this next time your not thrilled about a practice or a workout, just try to do it better than you did the time before.  I'm not talking about outcome, I'm talking about quality, I'm talking about intensity.  Practice does not make perfect but perfect practice makes perfect.  This pertains to all sports and really all things in life we are working toward, how do we learn from our mistakes yesterday and be better today?

Every day I'm trying to fail a little bit less and less, I'm trying to be the best I can be because if not I'm just staying stagnant and not moving anywhere.  Here's a couple of videos from my wins at the Millrose Games and USA Indoor Nationals.  Those days it was my best, but my best is getting better and better.  

Always Pursuing -Mark-

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Journey

You know when you've been working on something and working and working without seeing any results?  In fact you've had to start over a few times and your so close to just throwing in the towel?  Then you finally have that breakthrough and you start to feel redeemed, your confidence is boosted and you just start to snowball towards bigger and better.  Feels good right?  Almost makes all that work worth it.  For many of my faithful fans that have been on this journey with me you know that this has been my story, in fact this story has been about 4 years in the making!  That's why this past weekend has been such an awesome thing, I jumped higher than I have since 2010!  I jumped an indoor season PR, top jump in the US for now, and I'm only getting started!  That snowball is only beginning to roll, and my confidence is higher than its been in a long time!

I always thought this blog would be an avenue for me to update my family and friends on my competitions and my travels and maybe Id throw some insights that Ive learned for the upcoming vaulters.  I was so wrong!  This blog is a story, a novel that is being written one day at a time.  I know you the reader is just holding your breathe as you turn the page, hoping that I would succeed, because you know the work, the heartache and the passion of the story.  I think that's why I have such a following and why we connect so well to Olympians, the story is real!  Ive been blessed to meet most of you and have been strengthened and inspired by you to continue on this insane journey.  So many of you wear my shirts and have donated to my training fund.  I can tell you I definitely would not still be doing this without your support.

Just one more reason this is the greatest sport in the world, in the couple of days following my competition I received many texts from my competitors congratulating me, so happy for me.  That's what brings us vaulters young and old together , we understand the dogfight, the down and dirty wrestling match and its so great to see someone come out on top because this sport doesn't fight fair.  Its the journey that makes the success so much sweeter.  We all need that reminder when the going gets tough, and I'm so happy to add a positive page to this story.

Ill leave you with a pretty sweet bar cam video that I was lucky enough to be given by the guys at Virginia Tech.  Shows my clearances of 17'8", 18'2", and 18'6". 

If you want to see the full jumps check my Facebook or Twitter pages.  Heading to NYC for the Millrose Games this weekend and heading to Albuquerque next week for USA's.  Keep supporting and encouraging each others respective journeys, we are all writing our own story.

Always Pursuing