Katie Schide Post-2023 Western States 100 Interview

A video interview (with transcript) with Katie Schide after her second-place finish at the 2023 Western States 100.

By on June 25, 2023 | Comments

Katie Schide took second at the 2023 Western States 100, in doing so finishing under the prior course record. In the following interview, Katie talks about running many miles with women’s champion Courtney Dauwalter, the ups and downs of her day out, and how chasing Ellie Greenwood’s prior course record splits kept her motivated as the miles got difficult.

For more on how the race played out, read our in-depth Western States 100 results article.

Katie Schide Post-2023 Western States 100 Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Katie Schide. It’s the day after the 2023 Western States 100, and you are the women’s second-place finisher. Congratulations.

Katie Schide: Thank you, Meghan. Always good to see you.

iRunFar: Always good to see you, too, especially with the performance that you had yesterday. How’s that feel at this moment?

Schide: It feels like kind of a relief in some ways, but also just like, I was just proud I was able to put the pieces together at the right time.

iRunFar: So, is that sort of like the summary the day after, is that you felt like you put the pieces together in a way that you’re proud of?

Schide: Yeah, I think I brought myself to the start line with the best possible preparation I could, and it, luckily, it just like, worked out well. It doesn’t always work out like that. So, I was hoping it could.

iRunFar: Yeah, the blessing and the curse of the 100-mile race is that you never know how it’s going to turn out until it turns out.

Schide: Yeah, that’s why we keep coming back.

iRunFar: [laughs] Speaking of coming back, you now have an F2 should you want it.

Schide: Oh, god.

iRunFar: I mean, I’m just going to ask the question.

Schide: I knew you were going to ask this, and I don’t really know how to answer. Yeah. I would have to, if you could give me the winter’s snow forecast, like months in advance, then I could probably give you a better answer. But no, it’ll depend on like, what my partner Germain [Grangier] wants to do next year and how we want to coordinate the summer, and hopefully spend more time together.

iRunFar: I understand. You’re going to get that question a lot today if you haven’t already.

Schide: Yeah, I don’t have a good answer.

iRunFar: Let’s start with yesterday morning. We just interviewed Courtney Dauwalter and she talked about a really good, cool climb up the escarpment with you. What was that like?

Schide: Yeah, that was fun. I mean, I think just the whole start scene in general is just such a change from European racing that it was fun to just be with kind of, like, a small group of people. It was a very civil pace. Nobody was, you know…

iRunFar: Going out at like, a 4:20 mile.

Schide: Yeah. So, yeah, we had a good time. I mean, I thought we had like a pack of girls right behind us. And then at one point, I looked back and I was like, Oh, no, it’s just us. Okay. Well, I guess we’ll just keep going then. Thinking that like, they would find us eventually. But yeah, I think we kind of got off on our own in the snow/tree/scrambling adventure part, and got to hang out a little bit.

iRunFar: Were shoes the appropriate devices for the high country travel yesterday, or would a pair of skis actually have helped?

Schide: I actually think shoes would have been better. Yeah, that was like a little chunky to be on with skis.

iRunFar: Okay. Did you go into this race with sort of like, goal times? Were you looking at the course record splits and paces throughout the day? How did you sort of, strategically plan yesterday out?

Schide: So, nothing was planned. I didn’t learn about, I mean, I kind of knew the time range at Robinson, but I knew that the conditions were bad. So, I was thinking like, yeah, I knew that, I think five was around the course record. That was the only split I knew the whole race.

iRunFar: Oh, that’s awesome.

Schide: Yeah. And then Roger at, I think, after Last Chance, a volunteer, he yelled to me, “You’re two minutes under the course record!” And that was the first time that idea even came into my head.

iRunFar: Interesting.

Schide: Yeah. I looked at his nametag because I was like, “Thanks, Roger.” [laughs]

iRunFar: Thanks, Roger!

Schide: But then when I got to Michigan Bluff and saw like, the crew again, then they were telling me like, “Okay, you’re like, I don’t know, 10 or 15 minutes under course record.” And that gave me, I mean, Courtney was starting to slip away at that point. And I was wondering, like, how much I could really try to claw, even just to keep that gap. So, it kind of gave me this like new person to race, which was Ellie [Greenwood]. And then it was me racing Ellie.

iRunFar: And so, what was that like? Was it like, courage-giving, like, this is a way to drive you forward? Were you starting to run a little scared? Like am I going to get to this spot-on course record pace? Like how was that mentally sitting with you?

Schide: Yeah, I was asking my pacer Topher like, not continuously, but he was keeping me updated. “Okay, you got 15 minutes. You got nine minutes.” Then I was starting to lose time because I wasn’t feeling so great. But it kind of was that thing that kept pushing me. And I think I was really lucky actually to have that, because then the girls behind me made up a ton of time at the end. So, I could have had a real person instead of an imaginary person right behind me.

iRunFar: I guess it’s better to have the imaginary person then.

Schide: Yeah, she was very nice. [laughs]

iRunFar: Well, Ellie is very nice in person, too. So, it’s fitting.

Schide: I would like to meet her at some point.

iRunFar: Tell us about the last like, I don’t know. Let’s talk about Foresthill towards the river. Start with that. You and Courtney had stayed quite close together for a while, but like you said, after that you were in sort of no woman’s land. Interesting to know that you were using the course record time as your motivator when you couldn’t see the woman in front of you anymore, and you couldn’t see any women behind you.

Schide: Yeah, that was basically my, that was what I was racing. So yeah, I was just with Topher, and before that, like going up towards Devil’s Thumb, I was getting a little bit hot, and I knew I didn’t want to get to the top cooked. So, I kind of just went a little defensive there and was like, alright. I’m good at hiking. This is something I can like, relatively pull back on. Let Courtney go. I could see her at the top and yeah, and I think that was good because when I got to the top I still felt like, pretty good and could still run down pretty fast.

iRunFar: So yeah, the conditions started to show themselves in a way that you needed to moderate just a wee bit.

Schide: Yeah. I knew that there was a higher chance of the girls behind me catching me than me making some huge push to try to get to Courtney.

iRunFar: Yeah.

Schide: So in my mind it was like, Okay, we have this course record split. That gives me some motivation, but also don’t, like this is my first Western States. I don’t need to take like, an enormous risk to do something.

iRunFar: Yeah. I think you did have some, a few low patches sort of come and go there. It seemed like things were a wee bit serious for a little while.

Schide: Yeah, right after Green Gate. I had some low moments that Topher was around for. It was mostly my stomach, which is normal. But I felt like I could still keep my legs moving. It was mostly just getting my head and stomach to cooperate. But then we got to Quarry Road and Scott Jurek and Hal Koerner gave me a quesadilla. And it kind of like, brought me back.

iRunFar: Aw. And you could actually eat the quesadilla.

Schide: Yeah, I could get that down. Yeah, that was kind of like, the turning point. It was also when I was seeing I was losing time on the splits. And then I was trying to ask Topher more like, “Okay, do you know how far?” Then he was giving me distances in miles, which I was trying to convert to kilometers.

iRunFar: Can you please speak kilometers to me?

Schide: Yeah. So yeah, I was doing some math in my head.

iRunFar: Probably was going difficulty.

Schide: Yeah, but no, I felt like once I crossed the road, it was sort of really in sight in my head. And that’s when I was able to just like, just relax. And it was also nice to take off my pack at Pointed Rocks and just take a bottle, and just kind of like run. Like, fun. Just like, okay, this is fun. There’s only less than an hour left and I think I can do this.

iRunFar: What a great mentality for the last six miles of a 100-mile race, to try to have fun or to actually have fun.

Schide: Yeah, I think I was in a unique position that like, I wasn’t racing a real person at that point.

iRunFar: Yeah.

Schide: It was really just me convincing myself I needed to race Ellie who was not even there. Yeah.

iRunFar: Interestingly, like, you not only had fun, it seems, but you also ran quite fast. You left behind your pacer at that point in the race.

Schide: Yeah, Topher did a lot of work for me up until then, so he needed… I mean, he was prepping to do the live feed and he has to do the announcing later, so.

iRunFar: He needed to take a little bit of a break.

Schide: Yeah, he was just letting me do my thing.

iRunFar: What did it feel like to come down from Robie Point, run through town, do a 300-meter lap of the track? You did it quite fast. You were on the move on the track. What was going on in your head?

Schide: Honestly, it was really nice to see all the people out in the street. It felt like I was, you know, marching in the Memorial Day Parade again. But I didn’t know exactly how far it was to finish, and I knew I was really close on the time. So, I was kind of just like, just blinders on. Just like thank you, but didn’t say anything to anyone. And just yeah, when I could see the track, it was such a huge relief. But somehow I thought it was going to take me like, four minutes to do 300 meters, so that’s why I was running.

iRunFar: [laughs] Awesome. Math is difficult in 100-mile races.

Schide: Difficult.

iRunFar: That’s amazing. Yeah, you crossed the line, second-place, under the prior course record time. The time that you ran is you know, a mark that has stood in ultrarunning for 11 years now. It’s probably a mark that’s going to stand for a while. That has to feel quite nice.

Schide: It feels really cool. Especially just to come here as like, my first experience and have it be so great. I mean, that’s why I’m hesitant to answer because I don’t know if I can really top that.

iRunFar: It’s hard to replicate a really good day, especially in these longer distances.

Schide: Exactly. Yeah.

iRunFar: So you’re American, but I tend to think of you as a European because I see you race in Europe. And yeah, you’re here in America racing sort of like, the iconic 100-mile race. You talked before about how the starting line felt different. Can you position this race a little bit in the story of ultrarunning as you know it, and compare it to European ultras a bit?

Schide: I mean, it’s really at the core of the sport, right? In ultrarunning, I’ve read about it in every ultrarunning book, you know, since I first was taken with the sport many years ago. And yeah, it just feels like I almost know more about it. I feel like I have more ideas of it in my head from all these other stories than from my own experience yesterday. Which is really, yeah, it’s interesting. But yeah, it’s really, the feel is so different. It’s really hard to describe. It like, feels almost like a grassroots event. But then, you know there’s this huge complex organization going on behind it. But it feels really like familial, which you can get that feeling in Europe, but I just think when you have those, like bigger events, it’s just harder to feel like it’s as small a community. But I think they both have positives. Like, they both have their own reasons why.

iRunFar: They’re just different.

Schide: Yeah, they’re just really different.

iRunFar: It’s interesting to hear you say that it has this familial feel, yet we know it’s a giant organization. There’s like 1,000 volunteers out there and yeah, it’s just interesting that it still has the family feel.

Schide: Yeah, and I just love that all the volunteers are, you know, it’s just like people out with their campers, like, making grilled cheeses.

iRunFar: Quesadillas.

Schide: Quesadillas. Yeah, it’s just really fun to see everyone out there.

iRunFar: It was a really exciting weekend for your family unit. Your partner Germain won the 90k Marathon du Mont Blanc. You came in second at Western States. What is next? What does the summer hold for you all?

Schide: Yeah. So next up will be Germain at UTMB.

iRunFar: Okay.

Schide: And you’ll see me on the side of the trail. I’m signed up for OCC and as of now that’s the plan, but I’m, right now I’m just taking a couple of weeks to just see what I want to do, and just go home and be happy to be in my own bed again.

iRunFar: What does a couple of weeks off for running look like for a person like Katie Schide?

Schide: Oh, I don’t know. I didn’t totally mean a couple weeks off from running. I know. I mean, I’ll definitely be super happy to see my bike again. And just be hiking. Like, okay, maybe off from the type of running I’ve been doing the last few weeks. So more hiking.

iRunFar: Going to go hike up something steep, maybe.

Schide: I’m going to go hike up something steep and get on my bike. And yeah, just be happy to be back in the mountains at home.

iRunFar: Katie Schide, congratulations to you on your second-place finish. And yeah, an incredible performance under the prior course record.

Schide: Thanks. Yeah.

Meghan Hicks

Meghan Hicks is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. She’s been running since she was 13 years old, and writing and editing about the sport for around 15 years. She served as iRunFar’s Managing Editor from 2013 through mid-2023, when she stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief. Aside from iRunFar, Meghan has worked in communications and education in several of America’s national parks, was a contributing editor for Trail Runner magazine, and served as a columnist at Marathon & Beyond. She’s the co-author of Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running with Bryon Powell. She won the 2013 Marathon des Sables, finished on the podium of the Hardrock 100 Mile in 2021, and has previously set fastest known times on the Nolan’s 14 mountain running route in 2016 and 2020. Based part-time in Moab, Utah and Silverton, Colorado, Meghan also enjoys reading, biking, backpacking, and watching sunsets.