We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Schultz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I feel there are a lot of factors that have lead to my success as an athlete and in other aspects of my life. One thing in particular is working hard and showing up with the mentality that I am capable of what I set my mind to. I may fail or struggle, but if I show up each day and continue to push myself mentally and physically, over time, I will see results. This doesn’t mean that all days are perfect. There are days where I feel that I’ve taken two steps back. However, my ability to remain consistent always pays off and the progress will continue to move upward over time. Part of this also entails surrounding myself with positive people and support systems to help push me when things get hard. Remaining humble and knowing that I have more room to grow helps to remind me that my journey is a process and it will often times look much different from others around me. Stay humble and work hard is a motto that I always try to remember.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a modern pentathlete as well as a soldier in the US Army. My sport consists of fencing, swimming, running, shooting, and equestrian jumping. These five events push me in so many different aspects which is always a challenge. I began the sport in 2010 with a background in swimming, running, horseback riding, and some hunting growing up. The variety of sports was a perfect combination to lead me into the unique sport of pentathlon. It however was not a walk in the park adjusting to doing all five events and the amount of training that was required. Mentally and physically, I was pushing my body in so many ways which ultimately led to my body breaking down. It also led to other mental barriers of believing that I was not ever going to be good enough to go to the Olympics. Despite these ups and downs, I had such a love and passion for the sport. I continued to show up to practices, ask more questions, learn, develop, and work on my mental training and attitude as well as the self-care and recovery that was needed as a full-time athlete. These habits and challenges took time to work through and overcome. I will say that I am still working on them and adjusting them as my skills change and as I learn more about my training. I have had multiple injuries, stress fractures, surgeries, and setbacks but have been able to come back stronger mentally and physically. I have used these times to find what I can learn and grow from to help prevent them from happening again. Surrounding myself with a support team has been key to helping me work through things and pick me up when things are hard as well as celebrating the achievement of goals along the way. No journey is perfect and comparing ourselves to what we see in others can be destructive as well. Remaining grounded to your plan and goals has been a huge help to keep me focused on what I can control and the journey that I want to pursue!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live and train in Colorado Springs which I love! I was also born and raised in Littleton, Colorado so might be a little biased and love Colorado! One of the best things in Colorado Springs is Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. I would take my friend for tons of hikes or runs to show them all the greatest views and explore the amazing trails. I would probably take them to lunch either in Old Colorado City or downtown. There are so many amazing restaurants and cafes that have healthy options and such a great variety of foods. 503W has a beet salad that I get salmon and sweet potato fries with. Another favorite place is Cafe Red Point because of the healthy salads and smoothies they have! There are so many places that it would be hard to pick just one. I love to be adventurous and try new places too so I am sure that we would check out some cafes and restaurants that I hadn’t been to yet. Another place that I would take my friend to is the Olympic and Paralympic museum. It always excites me and gives me more motivation to see all the amazing gear and artifacts from previous Olympic Games. I would also love to take my friend to one of the amazing hot springs or mountain towns in Colorado. No matter what time of the year, the mountains are always such a nice get away. I grew up skiing in Steamboat and it is still one of my favorite mountain towns! To relax I would go and get a pedicure with my friend and just enjoy the good company. If it were the summer time we would be found doing yoga or exercising outdoors or hanging by a pool. There are still so many neat places in Colorado that I still have not gotten the chance to explore and I hope to be able to do more in the future! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people and organizations that have been a huge support in my entire journey as a modern pentathlete. I would say a special thank you and credit would have to go out to my parents. All the practices they drove me to and all the sports and passions that I pursued growing up. They were always by my side to push me and support me through all the successes and failures. I would also like to thank my husband for his support over the past years as I continue to purse my Olympic dream as he has had to sacrifice a lot as well. My coaches and so many family and friends have been a huge support to me as well through this entire journey. I can’t even begin to thank all of the people that have helped to keep me mentally and physically healthy through all the ups and downs.