Katy Schide is a professional ultra runner who just recently took home the championship title at the 2022 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, one of the most prestigious global ultra-running events. We will dive into her recent accomplishments later on, but first, we want to tell the story behind Katy Schide.
As one of our Lyvecap athletes, Katy is an amazing example of dedication, endurance, and the triumphs that come when you unlock peak performance. She is an inspiration to younger athletes to follow their passion, while always leaving room for evolution.
Childhood and Early Experiences as an Athlete
Katy grew up in Maine, playing nearly every organized sport available to her as a young girl. She always had a competitive side and enjoyed time outdoors, fostered by the hikes she would go on with her Dad. In high school, Katy played field hockey at a competitive level and continued pursuing hockey into college.
In college, she realized she wasn't passionate about hockey anymore and decided to quit the team. Little did she know this would transform into one day pursuing professional ultrarunning and trail running. During this time, she began meeting friends that spent a lot of time in the mountains, encouraging her to do the same.
All of her college summers were spent working in mountain huts in New Hampshire. She would stay in a hut for three months, working with college kids at the wilderness camp. This was where her trail running passion started, however, she didn't know that it was a professional sport at the time. At camp, she would have to go on a long walk between huts to see her friends, meanwhile, making the tight deadline to get back to work after meal breaks.
There was one challenge at camp that proved to Katy that she had a skillset as a long-distance course runner. Participants had to hike between all eight huts in less than 24 hours, which was a difficult feat since they were positioned so far apart. At first, Katy thought it was crazy, but ended up completing it three out of the four summers. This sparked her passion for ultra-endurance sports.
After four summers in New Hampshire, Katy moved to Salt Lake City in 2014, a location where mountain sports culture was popular. There was a race in Utah that was shorter than the distance run she did at camp, so Katy decided to sign up. She performed well and gained success quickly after that. She continued to run in races on the side, while she completed her Master's in Salt Lake.
In 2016, Katy moved to Zurich, Switzerland to do her Ph.D., where she later met her partner, who helped her pursue professional running in Europe. He was a professional athlete, and she still hasn't decided to take her running seriously. However, it didn’t take long before she started losing interest in her degree. By 2019, she negotiated part-time work to train more consistently.
Katy has been training and trail running ever since. Throughout her career, her family and friends have always trusted her decisions and supported what she wanted to do. Her partner is her biggest supporter and relates to experience since they are both professional athletes. As a team, they are able to push each other toward their goals.
Katy's Advice to Young Aspiring Athletes
Katy recommends young athletes try everything at least once, especially if they have grown up in organized sports. It is hard to choose one thing and decide that's what you want to do for life. She used to be committed to field hockey, that was her entire world for years. However that quickly changed, and ultra trail running became a huge passion in her life.
Katy says to give yourself grace and let yourself evolve, especially if you are young. She might decide one day that she doesn't want to do an ultra race, but she is comfortable experiencing that change if the day arises. In the end, her advice is to relentlessly follow whatever calls your passion.
Lyvecap probiotics help Katy perform and recover her best, especially since endurance running is so taxing to the body. When she is running in high-altitude locations, the energizing effect of STRONG increases her oxygen availability and lengthens the time to exhaustion.
If she has a day where she doesn't feel well recovery-wise, Katy always puts time aside to take a nap. That's one of her most consistent recovery routines, especially in busy training seasons. When she's traveling, she can notice a huge difference if her diet changes. Staying on top of eating whole foods and eating enough food to keep her endurance up is always a priority.
Challenges of Being a Professional Ultra-Race Runner
Injury is a common struggle that many athletes face. Katy leans on her partner during these times, since they have a mutual understanding of the athletic experience. Katy knows it's not the end of the world, and she can always work through it, although it's a heavy setback. She says, "It's my job to train and perform, so you feel like you can't do your job. It's even worse than not being able to do what you love."
Another trial in Katy's life was balancing her running career and her Ph.D. As she started to take training seriously, it became difficult to juggle both responsibilities. At the time, she was focusing all her energy on running and was struggling to find the motivation to finish her studies. While she ended up finishing her Ph.D., she has huge respect for people that step away from their doctorates. It's safe to say she's relieved that it's done now.
When Katy was working in France in 2019, it was nearly impossible to get home to see her family in Maine, especially during the pandemic. Europeans weren't able to go to the US and her parents couldn't travel to France. She was the only one that could travel for a while, which was a bit of a strain for those years.
How Katy Spends Her Free Time
When Katy isn't training, she enjoys traveling and ski mountaineering in the winter. She loves reading and hopes to have more time to improve her French. Katy tries to do calming activities during the off-season, so she spends a lot of time in nature, climbing and going on picnics.
Katy Schide's Victory at the UTMB
Prior to the recent win at the 2022 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, Katy was already an accomplished athlete. She had two top-ten finishes at the UTMB and many wins in top-tier ultra races. Around December of last year, she decided to make some changes in her training with the help of her coach. Katy put in the work every day to make improvements to her training, recovery, nutrition and mental preparation. The recent UTMB race proved that you can achieve massive success as an elite athlete when you refocus on the fundamentals.
During the race, Katy went from leading the race to falling behind. Eventually, she fought her way back to the top and ended up winning by more than an hour. Katy endured immense transformation during training, proving that she can adapt to adversity and execute as an elite performer. We can't wait to see what more Katy accomplishes in her running career, but we're so proud of her big win at the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.