Jared Hazen came to race the 2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile for one purpose… get a spot in this year’s Western States 100. He did just that with his third-place finish. In the following interview, Jared talks about how he came to ultrarunning at such a young age, what his mega-mileage training looks like, how his race played out, and where else you’ll see him in the coming months.
For more on the race, read our 2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile results article.
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Jared HazenPost-2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Jared Hazen after his third place at the 2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. Congratulations, Jared.
Jared Hazen: Thank you.
iRunFar: I do believe you came here with one purpose, and that was to get a Western States qualifier.
Hazen: It was.
Hazen: Checkmark. It was a success.
iRunFar: Quite a strong success. You got to really run with some top runners for a good long while. What was it like running with that crew?
Hazen: Yeah, it was kind of my first time doing that for sure. It was hard. The first 25 miles was pretty quick running with Rob Krar and Seth Swanson just behind Mike Aish and Alex Varner. Yeah, I was working pretty hard in the first 25 miles and a little worried about what might happen the second half of the race, but it ended up turning out alright. I stayed pretty steady the second half.
iRunFar: How do you get yourself to mentally… aside from the physical component of pushing hard, you were with Rob and Seth? You were 14th at Western States and new to the sport and they were one and two. Is it disconcerting?
Hazen: Yeah, it wasn’t like I fit in real well there. Yeah, well, I came in with… I told myself I’m going to run with the leaders or with the chase pack. I’ve run enough races now where I’ve run really conservative and tried to catch them and it hasn’t worked. So, I was like, No matter how bad it feels, at least for the first half I’m going to run with them. At that point, I didn’t have much to lose, so I might as well hang on as long as I can.
iRunFar: So you’re going out to the turnaround at mile 25 and somewhere in there you catch Jim Walmsley but there are three guys, Varner, Aish, and [Ryan] Bak, ahead of you. Krar takes off. What’s going through your head?
Hazen: I didn’t think I’d be seeing him again. He was flying. At that point I wasn’t feeling so hot. Seth Swanson kind of dropped me for awhile after that. I was thinking, Well, here goes my race. Then Jorge [Maravilla] came along. Why don’t you try to keep up with Jorge? He was moving good. There were a couple big climbs in there and we worked up those pretty well. Seth kind of fell off the back a little bit. Then me and Jorge had a pretty good battle there for awhile going back and forth.
iRunFar: Really? So, less working together and more fighting…
Hazen: Well, I would say it was working together. It’s hard to fight with Jorge. The guy’s smiling all the time.
Hazen: Yeah, I think we’ve definitely benefited from running with each other for sure.
iRunFar: When did you have to say goodbye to Jorge?
Hazen: I think it was right around something like 17 to go. There’s a water stop there.
iRunFar: Water stop…
Hazen: Yes. I kind of… I think that was where I dropped him for good. I was running pretty hard. I was feeling good from there until the aid station that’s 12 miles out. I was hammering pretty good. I kind of gapped him and couldn’t see him. I was like, I’m going to lay it on now and really try to put some time on him. I don’t want it to come down to the last few miles. Yeah, so I did that and…
iRunFar: When did you pass or find Krar and Aish? Who was first?
Hazen: Krar was first… I can’t quite remember where I passed him. Maybe it was a couple miles before the aid station that was 12 miles out from the finish. He was walking and didn’t look so good. Aish was immediately before the aid station with 12 to go. He was walking, too. Neither of them looked too good. I was like, Well, they’re probably done, but if they come back from the dead, I was worried. They could be stalking me.
iRunFar: They both have wheels.
Hazen: Yeah, for sure.
iRunFar: Here you are, you’re in front of them with 12 miles to go. They’re behind you. You still have Ryan and Alex ahead.
Hazen: I kind of forgot about those guys. I was hurting pretty good. I don’t know if I’m going to be catching anybody. I was more focused on holding people off. At that point I was on the podium and I didn’t want to give that up. That was a secured Western spot there.
iRunFar: You knew that.
Hazen: I was like, Okay, working pretty hard still these last 12 miles. I got to that last aid station and it’s a short out-and-back of a quarter mile each way. I didn’t see Jorge or anybody. That gives me at least four minutes with four-and-a-half miles to go. All I have to do is keep moving at a decent place and I’m probably going to keep third.
iRunFar: Does that allow you to change your mindset to keeping an honest effort but be conservative to the finish?
Hazen: Definitely. I was hurting pretty bad but I probably slacked off a little bit in some of those hills.
iRunFar: Would you still call it your best ultra to date?
Hazen: Definitely, yeah, for sure.
iRunFar: So you have Western States on your dance card now. Anything between now and then to tune up or are you going to have to revise your schedule?
Hazen: No, I didn’t really have a schedule to begin with. I won’t do anything between now and then. I think this is enough. It’s kind of coming up pretty quick. I don’t think it’s necessary to do a race between now and then.
iRunFar: What will your training look like? May is a training month. What will a typical week look like then?
Hazen: It will probably be a little bit more than I was running for this race. I tapered back my miles quite a bit or a fair amount for this race compared to what is usual. I maybe run about 100 miles per week. I’ll probably do some 100-mile weeks and maybe get up to 130 and possibly to 150 and still try to do a lot of good workouts like I was before this week. Like last year training for Western, I was running as many miles as I could. I had a 200-mile week a few week s before Western and several 180-mile weeks. I was running a lot. That’s kind of typical for me except before this race, and that kind of turned out well.
iRunFar: Maybe looking to decreasing the volume some but still a very heavy volume but with a little more sharp stuff in there and more quality workouts?
Hazen: A lot of hill workouts. Hill work is hard to do when you’re running 180 miles per week. You’re just tired.
iRunFar: When you’re doing 180 miles per week, are you doing doubles every day or is that 25 miles/run every day?
Hazen: Most days are a double. Sometimes I’ll do a four-hour run in the morning. Usually it would be a three-hour run in the morning and an hour run in the evening. When I’m running that much, I’m doing my longest long runs like an eight-hour long run followed by a four or six-hour long run. Yeah, usually most weekdays are doubles.
iRunFar: Is that all stuff in the mountains or are you mixing it up in the mountains and on the roads? Thinking about that in terms of mountains, that’s a full-time job right there.
Hazen: Yeah, it’s a lot of time. It’s 30 hours per week. It’s a lot of time spending running, but most of it would be on trails. I’ve kind of been all over the place. I never run too much on the roads. I sometimes will try to do workouts on the roads just to try new things, but a lot of tends to be on the trails and fitting in climbing.
iRunFar: You’ve taken sort of an unconventional route. You grew up in Pennsylvania and now you’re living in Colorado and sort of postponed college. Is that to focus on running specifically?
Hazen: Yeah, it definitely was. When I was in high school I had a lot of ideas as to what I wanted to do in college, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. College is a big decision. It’s expensive and you’ve got to take out a lot of loans. I knew I wanted to do running, so if I spent a couple years running it wouldn’t be wasted. I didn’t want to go to college for two years and drop out. Yeah, it’s been a good two years. It was a good choice for sure.
iRunFar: You can see yourself continuing down that route for a little while?
Hazen: Yeah, I don’t know… at least until August. I’m tentative on going to college this fall. I think… I don’t know. I feel like I should, but I don’t want to leave Colorado. I don’t want to go back to Pennsylvania and go to school which is kind of tough. It’s probably looking like I will be in college this fall.
iRunFar: Somewhere back in Pennsylvania?
iRunFar: How did you get into running? Did you go straight into running or did you run in high school?
Hazen: Yeah, I ran in high school, kind of the typical cross country, track. The only reason I decided is a friend talked me into it in seventh grade. I did it for awhile. I wasn’t very… I would say I was decent. I was not good by any means. Then my junior year came around in high school and I started running a lot more just to get better at cross country and track. Yeah, so I started running a lot of miles. By the time track rolled around I was running 100-mile weeks and I started running trails. I really liked that a lot, a lot more than track and cross country. Ultras fit really well with that.
iRunFar: How did you even hear about ultrarunning as a high-school student?
Hazen: It may have just been the internet just reading stuff. There’s also an ultra in Titusville on the trails I was running on.
iRunFar: Oil Creek?
Hazen: Oil Creek 100 Mile, yeah. So, I may have heard it… maybe I heard of that first. I can’t quite remember. There’s this loop that’s the majority of the race—it’s a 27-mile loop. I was doing that and I was like, I can run 50k. What’s it like to run 50 miles? Can I run 50 miles? Then after I ran 50, Well, can I run 100 miles?
iRunFar: So you ran 100 miles while you were still in high school or a little after?
Hazen: It was shortly after, I don’t know, four months after I graduated?
iRunFar: You were planning on that at that point?
iRunFar: Congratulations on your great run today and good luck for getting ready for Western States. See you again.
Hazen: Yeah, thanks.