Julie Patterson won first place in both the Women’s International and Sprint Triathlons. We caught up with Julie post-race and asked her a few questions.
Tell us about your race weekend:
My race weekend was a lot of fun! It was the perfect opportunity to get back into racing with a well-run race close to home that also had strong competition. My husband and I also used the trip as a weekend getaway to a beautiful part of the state. We rented a cabin in Luray and really enjoyed getting to see the area.
How did you feel about winning both the Luray International and Luray Sprint Triathlon?
I was excited to take home both wins at my first double race weekend. When I was running from the swim exit to T1 during the Sprint race, my legs buckled underneath me several times. I was really wondering at that point how I’d manage competitive bike and run splits if my legs were already giving way. I got on the bike and just started taking the race 5 minutes at a time. Being able to turn my race around mentally from, “my legs are buckling before I’m even on the bike,” to competitive bike and run times was a big confidence booster for me.  
Is this your first time doing the Luray Triathlon? 
This was my first time at the Luray Triathlon. I decided to compete because I’d heard good things about the quality of the race organization and the competition. I had also heard that the course was difficult, but I did not do any specific research on the course prior to the weekend. The course was definitely harder than I expected – that final hill is no joke! The race organization was terrific. The volunteers were great, the course was very well marked, and the atmosphere at the race was energetic and uplifting.
What conditions helped you get the wins?
I think the biggest condition that contributed to my wins is the improved consistency in my everyday life. The last year has been really crazy for me with finishing up two doctorate degrees, defending a dissertation, and finding and starting a new job. Now that I’m settling into my new job, I’m able to be a lot more consistent in my training, eating habits, sleep, etc. My husband, Tim, and my coach, Kyle Pawlaczyk, have been incredibly supportive even when I wasn’t always on my A game over the last year.
What was your motivation?
I really wanted to feel strong and confident while racing. My confidence took a hit at a few difficult races last year, and I knew that if I pushed through the tough spots this weekend, I could look back on the race as something that I could be proud of. 
Were you in the lead the entire time, or was there some back and forth, how was the competition?
I came out of the water 2 minutes behind in the International race. I didn’t catch Megan until about 40 minutes into the bike, but once I took the lead, I was able to maintain it. During the Sprint race, I swam alongside Liz but was first out of the transition and maintained the lead from there. The competition was tough, though. In addition to Liz (who also has her pro card), there were several very competitive age group women racing.
At what point did you realize you were going to win?
By halfway through each of the runs, I knew how much of a cushion I had and that it would be enough for me to win. 
What did you like most about the Luray Triathlon race weekend?: 
My favorite thing about the race weekend was that it was a whole experience and not just a 1- or 2-hour long race. It’s a lot of fun to race against many of the same women two days in a row. I also had the opportunity to meet some first-time triathletes at the clinic on Saturday, and I loved their excitement about the sport. 
What advice can you give other triathletes:
Do the double! Staying in Luray for the whole weekend and racing both days is a really neat experience that isn’t offered at many other events. If you’re worried about whether you’re up for racing twice, I’d note that the Sprint race feels much shorter than the International did the day before. You only have to do one lap on the bike and run!
Will you be back: