Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 24
Athlete of the Week: Elizabeth Hawes
BY KRISTINA SEWELL
Triathlons. They’re the ultimate physical test of fitness, endurance, and determination. Consisting of cycling, swimming, and running portions, the sport is growing by leaps and bounds every day, with thousands of races held across the world each year.
The reasons people sign up for triathlons are varied: some want to prove they can, others thrive on the challenge the race presents.
For 36-year-old Santa Ynez resident Elizabeth Hawes, it’s the challenge and the excitement that appeals to her most. On Aug. 8, Hawes rose to the challenge at the sixth annual Hank Hudson Sprint Triathlon hosted at the Lompoc Aquatic Center.
Competing against 114 other adults, Hawes managed to beat out the competition to set a new course record of 59:30, shattering Nicole Sweetland’s previous record of 1:03:16. For Hawes, breaking the record came as a surprise.
“I was very happy,” Hawes said. “I had my eye on it, but I didn’t know until I crossed the finish line.”
This year marks Hawes’ third in the annual race; she started competing in triathlons in college, and now competes in about four to five races a year.
Perhaps it’s Hawes’ athletic background that has contributed to her success as a triathlete. Previously a high school swimmer in Michigan, Hawes attended Oakland University, a Division-II college where she swam the backstroke for the swim team.
After graduating from college she was looking for a change of scene and made arrangements to move out to California with her cousin, where her affinity for triathlons continued to grow.
“I like running the races; it seemed like a natural progression,” Hawes said.
Hawes competes in both sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, staying close to the Central Coast for competition. The appeal for her comes from training in the different events and getting to mix things up. But the biggest challenge, she said, is the transition between events.
“I stumble around getting ready,” Hawes said. “You have to be adaptable and ready to change during these races.”
Like many triathletes, Hawes has had moments in which she felt like she just couldn’t push her body any farther.
“Longer races can be tough but you have to mentally talk yourself through it and know it will be over soon,” she explained.
To prepare for competitions, Hawes trains every day of the week; swimming two days, completing three cardio sessions weekly, and cycling two days a week. Hawes has already begun training for her next race in September, Scott Tinley’s Adventures race, an Olympic distance triathlon held at Lopez Lake.
“It all depends on the day but I hope to be faster than last year’s record,” Hawes said.
When she isn’t tearing things up on the course, Hawes works as an administrator for Tecolote Research in Goleta. For Hawes, triathlons not only provide a unique challenge, but a sense of camaraderie amongst other competitors as well.
“I enjoy the competitors and the supportive atmosphere,” Hawes said. “Plus, I like the sense of accomplishment.”