In taking second place at the 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, Jared Hazen showed that he’s back! In this interview, Jared talks about his two major injuries in 2017 and the recovery process, what his healthy build-up to fitness looked like, how his ultimate goal at Sonoma was to earn a Golden Ticket into the Western States 100, and how the race played out from his perspective.
For more on how the race played out, read our 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile results article.
Jared Hazen Post-2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar and I’m with Jared Hazen. He’s the second-place finisher at the 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. Hey, congratulations!
Jared Hazen: Thank you. I had a great race.
iRunFar: We were just talking. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. Maybe the finish line of Western States a couple of years ago.
Hazen: Yeah, it has been a while. That’s getting on three years now. A lot has changed.
iRunFar: I did catch a glimpse of you here last year, but the race didn’t go so well for you last year. It was amidst a year of injury, right?
Hazen: Yeah. I kind of came into this with just a little bit of pain on the right side of my groin. That, combined with a messy race and nutrition fails and stuff led me to DNF. I don’t like to DNF, but that one I was okay with. I mean, I was in pain and compensating. It went misdiagnosed for a month or two, but then I found out it was a stress reaction in my femoral neck, so that’s not a good place to get one. So that took me out for the summer. I took six weeks off. I built back up, you’re supposed to build back up slowly.
iRunFar: What did you do?
Hazen: I managed to stay healthy for maybe ten weeks. I went from zero miles and got up to 150. Then, I got a pain in my back and found out that was a sacral stress fracture.
iRunFar: Another not-good spot.
Hazen: That one required crutches, eight weeks off. That one taught me my lesson.
iRunFar: When was the “eight weeks off” mark?
Hazen: It started right around Thanksgiving – the very end of November or beginning of December. I took my time coming back. I built things up slowly. That was maybe one of my proudest accomplishments in running, actually.
iRunFar: Following the ten percent or 15 percent rule? [Laughs]
Hazen: I’ve always had big jumps. It’s never been a problem, but two big problems last year, so I took my time.
iRunFar: Well, it’s been a couple of years since we interviewed you. You’ve sort of jumped all over the place geographically a bit, but you’ve settled in Flagstaff now?
Hazen: Yeah, I moved there last May, as I finished up my freshman year of college in Pennsylvania. I jumped from Colorado Springs, where I was for a few years, back to Pennsylvania for my first year of school. I decided that wasn’t really the best place for me to be. So I decided to try Flagstaff and it’s been great.
iRunFar: You’re still in school there.
Hazen: Yes, I transferred to school there.
iRunFar: You’re majoring in microbiology?
Hazen: Yeah, it’s pretty exciting stuff.
iRunFar: That was my favorite biology class in undergrad.
Hazen: Really? I actually haven’t taken microbiology yet, I’m just taking just general bio.
iRunFar: What year in school are you, officially?
Hazen: I’m finishing up my sophomore year. There are a few weeks left in the semester. I’d taken a few years off after high school and then started.
iRunFar: Are you going to school full-time?
Hazen: Full time. I’m just doing that and running – that’s it.
iRunFar: That’s probably enough! So, you’ve been healthy since the end of November or beginning of December and had a good ramp-up in training. Can you talk about what that actually looked like for you? You guys have got quite a training group there in Flagstaff and you’re also training at altitude. Can you explain what your season has looked like so far?
Hazen: The first ten weeks – all of December, all of January and the first half of February – was spent building up to a place where I feel like I’m really starting to train again. Going by numbers, that’s about 100 miles per week. So I got up to 100 miles per week towards the end of February or maybe a little earlier than that. I put in four solid weeks, nothing special, and raced Way Too Cool 50kat the beginning of March.
iRunFar: That turned out pretty good.
Hazen: Yeah, I just kind of trained through it. I wanted to race because it had been so long. I went on a road trip, brought Jim Walmsleywith me. I got second, finishing about 30 seconds behind Max King. It was really encouraging that things were going really well. I ran the second half, where all the hills are, really strong. I was moving through the field. Things were looking good from there. Then, I had time for another really good four weeks before it was time to taper for this.
iRunFar: Did you come into Lake Sonoma wanting to have some revenge on last year, or were you here for a golden ticket? What was the motivation to be here today?
Hazen: I guess my primary objective was to get the golden ticket to go back to the Western States Endurance Run. It’s probably my favorite race out there. I think it suits me well. Then, there’s the history of it – it’s just a special race. I think people who have been there understand.
I wanted to get the ticket, and training has just been going really well. I was able to do things I’d never done before in training: paces, runs at altitude, the quantity that I was getting in was solid. I wanted to see if I could run a fast time, as well. I didn’t really run quite as fast as I thought I could. I do think I left three to five minutes out there. Jim was way off in front. Mario Mendozawasn’t all that close by the time we had about 12 miles to go. I was hurting and I didn’t exactly crush the last 12 miles.
iRunFar: Let’s talk a little bit about how the race went. It seemed that pretty early the men at the very front of the field spread out. Three of you were just by yourselves.
Hazen: I kind of expected that. I knew that Jim was going to be in the front. I thought, if things were feeling really good, and I feel comfortable with it, I’d run with Jim. I didn’t necessarily know he was going to go that quickly. Then Mario was with us and I figured, I train with Jim a lot but I don’t know Mario aside from what I see on Strava. I knew he’s good and he’s had some good races already this year. So we had kind of separated ourselves. I let Jim go because I quickly found out that it’s not going to be in my best interest to run with him.
iRunFar: If you’re looking for a golden ticket, maybe that’s not the way to do it.
Hazen: No. So it was me and Mario for maybe the first four miles we ran together. Then, I managed to get a little bit of a gap. By the time we got to the first aid station, Warm Springs, it was maybe a minute. From there, it was big enough that I couldn’t see him because this course is so winding – it’s easy to get out of sight quickly. I was happy because I wanted to run by myself at that point. I do a lot of my training by myself and I like to get in my own rhythm. I guess I probably had through halfway right around two or three minutes in front of him. Then, I ran the second half pretty well, increasing that to seven or so minutes at the finish.
iRunFar: I got to see you at mile 38 on the inbound, where you go around the far edge of the lake. It ends up being a fairly burly final 12 miles, I think.
Hazen: Yeah, it’s a tough 12 miles.
iRunFar: You kind of just had your head down.
Hazen: I thought you asked me, “how did you feel?” I looked up and answered with the most pathetic “good” and just kept moving.
iRunFar: But you were moving well.
Hazen: Yeah, I was moving well, but feeling it and hurting. Every time I would go into aid stations and crew, I was really quiet. I had my head down, I was just, “give me my stuff and let’s go.” But that’s how I do things in training – I like to get 20 miles into a 50-mile race and then kind of grind away. I’ll know I’m moving well and getting through them, and things are good. I get into my own headspace.
iRunFar: You’re a pretty young guy and you already know how to suffer quite well. Where does this come from? Where did you acquire this?
Hazen: I got into ultras really young. I ran my first ultra when I was 17. I was pretty naïve. I didn’t really know what to do for training and how to race. I was putting in really big miles when I was younger and went to big races like Western States. Now, it’s like I’ve experienced a lot. In training I don’t put in the mileage I used to, but I’m stronger, being older. I do feel like an experienced ultrarunner. I feel like I generally know what I’m doing out there.
iRunFar: Well, congratulations on your second-place finish and your golden ticket.
Hazen: See you in Squaw.