Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mark Pollock. Run for Mark in the Dark

Training Run with Mark Pollock at Dingboche in Everest Region in preparation for Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon 2007.

For over a decade Mark Pollock was known as an inspiration, an adventure athlete competing in the world’s harshest environments despite being completely blind.  

As part of regaining his identity after losing his sight he chose to take on spectacular challenges. He has survived the sub-zero temperatures of Antarctica as he raced to the South Pole over 43 days. He suffered the scorching heat of the Gobi Desert, completing six marathons in one week in “The Race of No Return”. He has competed in races on the frozen Arctic Ocean at the North Pole, through the desert lowlands of the Syrian African Rift Valley to the Dead Sea and at altitude at Everest base camp. He also has two Commonwealth Games medals for rowing under his belt.

In mid-2010, Mark’s business was thriving with a full calendar of motivational speaking events ahead. He was in the process of writing his second book and he was due to be married.

On the night of the 2nd of July 2010 everything changed. He fell from a second story window fracturing his skull, some ribs and breaking his back in a number of places. Mark was taken to intensive care where injuries such as bleeds on his brain and a suspected torn aorta one by one healed becoming less and less significant beside the fact that Mark could not feel or move anything below his belly button. An MRI confirmed damage to his spinal cord where two of his vertebrae had burst in the fall. Mark was transferred to the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville in England, where spinal surgeons stabilized the bones in his spine with metal rods.
Mark spent 7 months suffering an onslaught of kidney and heart infections, which brought weeks of temperatures and pain and a 3 stone weight loss. Mark’s bones eventually healed but medicine can do nothing to repair a damaged spinal cord and Mark was discharged to The National Rehabilitation Hospital in Ireland in February 2011.
The Run for Mark night time event is being held simultaneously
in Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Galway at 7:30pm on 16th November. We want as many people to engage in this worthwhile event to help raise funds to assist with the capital and ongoing costs associated with Mark Pollock's spinal injury. Every run also has a walking option which is half the distance of the full 8-10k run (distances slightly vary by location). To find out more about the event nearest you and register online, please click on Dublin, Belfast, Cork or Galway to see the route map and location venue. - If these details have not been populated it is due to the exact route not being confirmed with the council. However you can still register!

Register Now for the Run for Mark in the Dark at Your Preferred Event Location of Dublin, Belfast, Galway or Cork and find out all the details for your race by clicking here.

Download a poster by clicking here.

For further information, please contact info@markpollocktrust.org.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Back to basics.

With my season more or less over I've gone back to basics and on the advice of John Belton at No17 Personal Training have started on a Strength & Conditioning programme to improve Core Stability and Leg Strength while maintaining Fitness & Endurance.  John travelled to Holland with the Irish Team for the recent IAU 100K World & European Championships and based on his observations has come up with a plan to work on my weaknesses and make me stronger.

My weekly routine now includes 2-3 sessions with John which includes some Olympic Weight Lifting moves and Mobility Exercises.

Running Volume has reduced with less running distance but I'll continue to include some high intensity workouts and short races of up to 10K and Cross Country when available.  I'm already thinking ahead to next year and the intention is to recover from what I've done this year while building a strong base from which to start next year.
I'll post a more detailed explanation of my strength routine shortly.

Kildare Masters Cross Country Championships.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Post Race Analysis / 100K World & European Championships 2011

Team Ireland. IAU 100K World & European Championships
Feeling quite confident going into this race I was sure of a good result and expected to finish between 7hr30min and 7hr45min based on previous training results.  Without doubt I had the endurance and reckon I had just enough time to work on my leg turnover after my most recent race in Belfast.  The later than usual start time of 10 am for a race of this length meant running in the hottest part of the day and for most of the day and thats where it went wrong for me.  I knew from before halfway that I was showing signs of dehydration which slowed my pace with an elevated Heart Rate and increased my stopping time to try rehydrate and deal with stomach cramps.
The stomach cramps were quite severe at times and gave me the urge to pass water even though nothing would come out.  My guess is the cramps were caused by gels that weren't dilute enough for digestion.  To correct this problem I cut back on my carbohydrate intake by switching to an electrolyte only drink until I felt able to or needed to take carbs again.  The problem did start to correct itself and I can remember having a wobble at around 79K which helped make the decision to go back on carbs.  I managed to avoid the wall and started to come around again and got back where I wanted to be and had a much stronger finish than my earlier problems would have suggested.

I can't use the race day conditions as an excuse for my performance as the finishing times show that with the right preparation and race day plan it was a race that I should have done better in.  In the days after the race I was moving quite freely and know that I didn't run to my potential so it's now back to basics and my plan is to learn from this and other races and over the next few months I'll correct what I think went wrong.  For starters, I went to Holland while waiting results of a recent blood test which have since shown that I'm borderline anaemic and regardless of whether this contributed to my performance or not it's something I need to get sorted.