At the age of 19, Lia Patscheider ran her first WOC last Summer, in Inverness, achieving an unexpected 25th place in the Sprint Final. A few months later, in the Junior European Cup, she was second in the Sprint race, just one second behind the amazing Sara Hagström. Ready to face the Elite, she talks about herself and sets some realistic goals for the season.
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.”. I could read this sentence from Samuel Beckett, recently, on your Twitter account. Would you like to explain the personal meaning of these words? Is it a kind of motto in your life?
Lia Patscheider (L. P.) - I really like these words and I think that in Sport, as in life, things are a bit like this. Sometimes it goes up and sometimes it goes down. Life is easy when everything is going okay. The hard thing is to get up again... and don’t get tired about it (laughs). I was injured and sick for the last one and a half months and I couldn’t train as I had planned. It was hard but now, slowly, I can feel that I’m back on track again.
How did you meet Orienteering? Was it “love at first sight”?
L. P. - Coincidentally I did an adventure/orienteering course when I was 9 years old and I really loved it. I did a lot of different kinds of sports and I just started training orienteering when I was 15 and was selected for my first EYOC. So, yes, it was love at first sight, absolutely.
What do you see in Orienteering that makes it so attractive?
L. P. - I always enjoyed running. I just love the feeling of running, the wind breeze in my face, the legs feeling light and unstoppable. The faster I run, the better I feel. The cool thing about orienteering is that you never know what is waiting for you in the forest and this is the kind of challenge that I like the most.
How do you rate the last season? Could you mention the best and the worst in 2015?
L. P. - It was a good season for me. The biggest goal was my last JWOC but I totally failed there. It was a mental failing. I tried to prepare it really good, thinking about all the details I could improve and that could happen there but it was too much. I thought I had everything under control but I was wrong. Surprisingly, I could achieve some good results in Sprint and Mixed Sprint Relay. I wasn’t particularly good at it before, but after the World Cup in Halden something has changed in my head. I was really satisfied with the 25th place at WOC Sprint and the 2nd Place at JEC.
A “normal” week, in your case, means what?
L. P. - I usually training twice a day, one running and one other like XC skiing, skiroll, biking, aqua jogging or power training. In the winter period I run between 100-130 Km a week. As student (I study Architecture, in Graz), it’s not that easy to train well in the exam periods but I try to give my best and to do it as good as I can. So, in one ordinary week, I´m training, studying and spending some time with my friends in the evenings.
You’ve been to Spain recently. Would you like to talk about the Winter season so far and the way you’re feeling now?
L. P. - Yes that’s right. I was in the region of Murcia with my Swedish club, OK PAN Kristianstad for trainings and races. I´m in Strömstad now, with my Italian Club S.C. Meran, to prepare next WOC. I had a rest period after JEC in Bad Harzburg and then I started again with lot of longer runs in lower intensity. Until January everything was fine with trainings, then I started to get injured and now I´m trying to get back as before. I´m really looking forward to this year’s races, I can’t wait to compete! I trained a lot this winter and I hope the training will pay off.
What are your main goals of the season?
L. P. - My main goal is to have a good start as elite athlete. I don’t like to set goals like this or that result because I’m only able to influence my performance and not the other ones. I hope to get qualified and to run good races at WOC, EOC and WUOC.
Lia Patscheider Foot orienteer 'versus' Lia Patscheider Ski orienteer. What is similar and what is different?
L. P. - This year I stopped doing Ski-O. It wouldn’t be possible to do both as good as I wanted and to combine it with my studies. I still do XC Skiing and Ski-O but only as alternative training and for fun.
Is there an orienteer that you see as an idol? What does he/she have that you don’t?
L. P. - There are certainly some orienteering “legends” as Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou that I admire. I see a big idol in Judith Wyder, I really like her attitude, both training and competing. My biggest non-orienteering idol is Alex Schwazer (race-walking); when he took the 50 km olympic gold medal, Peking 2008, it was an overwhelming feeling for me and I knew that I wanted to be like him one day.
In the beginning of a new season, I ask you to make a wish.
L. P. - I wish all the wishes of all the people in the whole world could come true!
[Photo courtesy of Lia Patscheider]