Jared Hazen spent the first few months of 2015 on a quest to earn a spot in this year’s Western States 100. Boy, did he make the most of that opportunity. He was third! In the following interview, Jared talks about what gave him confidence going into the race, how his race played out, what it was like racing hard the last ten miles, and how his nutrition and hydration plan went.
For more on how the race went down, check out our Western States results article.
Bonus: We’ve also got video of Jared finishing the race.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Jared Hazen Post-2015 Western States 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Jared Hazen after his third-place finish at the 2015 Western States 100. Congratulations!
Jared Hazen: Thanks.
iRunFar: That was one heck of a run.
Hazen: Thanks. It was a good day.
iRunFar: It seemed you aimed your whole season to get into Western States at Lake Sonoma, and you did.
Hazen: Yeah, it ended up working out really well. Earlier in the year I tried to get in at Bandera. I got injured after Bandera for five weeks. I kind of threw together a quick training block for Sonoma and ended up getting in. I felt like I was well-rested enough to put in a really solid training block for Western and still be not too tired so I came in fresh. Now I’ll take a break after this. I think I’m kind of maxed out at this point.
iRunFar: How did that final training block go? I’m assuming well based on this race.
Hazen: Yeah, that was the one thing I had confidence in coming into the race. I knew that the training was there. I’d done just a ton of workouts, some of the hardest workouts I’d ever done. I felt really fit. I knew that my fitness was there to run well, it’s just a matter of putting it together on race day.
iRunFar: What did those workouts look like?
Hazen: Some longer repeats. I did a lot of 4 x 15-minute intervals uphill, flat, downhill, and things like that. I was just kind of trying to get an hour’s worth of work done in the workout. Then pretty much just three hours per day.
iRunFar: You didn’t pump up your volume even more. You’re already pretty high volume.
Hazen: I was pretty steady there. I thought that was kind of just different than last year at Western States. Then I was doing long runs every weekend and back-to-back eight-hour long runs and so on. This year it was… I kind of cut all that back and just focused on doing more quality. I think the longest I ran was six hours and probably only did three or four long runs. So, just trying to stay fresh.
iRunFar: So kind of more moderate… three hours per day is still a good bit of running, but…
Hazen: Yeah, throughout the week it was a bunch but not so much of the long efforts.
iRunFar: Toeing the line, how did you feel?
Hazen: I felt good. I was confident in my fitness, like I said. I just knew that on race day I needed to make the right choices out there. I was kind of ready to give it a go.
iRunFar: What were the choices? Was there a plan heading into the day?
Hazen: It was definitely kind of to run toward the front. That meant running with Rob [Krar], Seth [Swanson], and Dylan [Bowman] for the first 30 or so miles, and then they pulled away. I kept running with Dylan for awhile and just making sure I was staying up. Anytime someone would come up behind me, I’d try to run with them. Going up to Devil’s Thumb, Thomas [Lorblanchet] caught me. So I was kind of hanging around with him, and then I pulled away. So I was just kind of fighting out there.
iRunFar: How do you have the confidence at 20 and having only run a couple hundreds to run with Krar who has won Western States, François [D’Haene] who has won UTMB and Diagonale des Fous, and Thomas who has won Leadville? How do you make that leap of faith almost?
Hazen: Yeah, you just kind of wing it and go for it. The only confidence I had was in the training. I knew I had worked hard and I kind of had in my head that maybe I could run around 15:30. In the past I haven’t had that confidence, so it’s definitely building. Sonoma was a big stepping stone, and this is another one. I think it’s just evolving.
iRunFar: You make it through the canyons. You’re back a couple of positions in the mid-top 10. When did you start going forward again?
Hazen: I was probably in fifth at Foresthill. I believe it was Thomas who I passed going through Foresthill and I didn’t see it. Then I caught François on Cal Street about five miles from the river crossing around there. He wasn’t looking so great. He didn’t put up much of a fight as I went past him. That put me in third. I went to the river crossing. I felt like garbage. I believe it was Thomas and Gediminas [Grinius] were only a few minutes back.
iRunFar: They made up some time on Cal Street.
Hazen: Yeah, I was feeling like crap on Cal Street, and I knew I would… just that long downhill. So, Thomas caught me on the climb to Green Gate. I ran with him up to Green Gate and made it out before him. I made a push to get a gap, and I did. I held that gap all the way to Highway 49 when Gediminas caught me. Right as I was leaving, he was coming in. I made a strong push there and about a mile later he caught me. I just kind of hung on him until No Hands. Then I felt like he slowed.
iRunFar: You’re at No Hands late in the race, and you’re side-to-side racing for third. No pressure.
Hazen: Yeah, there was a lot of pressure for sure, and I felt it. I just told myself that I’d go and keep up with him until I can’t anymore, and if I start cramping then fine, I’ll take fourth. Until I can’t go anymore, I’m going to keep pushing. I felt like he slowed up just a hair after No Hands, so I kind of put the hammer down through that flat section and then up the climb. I just kind of gave it everything I had. I think at Robie Point, I didn’t know it at the time, but I think I had two minutes on him.
iRunFar: Were you checking your shoulder on the road?
Hazen: Yeah, for sure. I kept looking back. Yeah, it stuck.
iRunFar: How did it feel coming around the track and crossing that line?
Hazen: It was a relief. Yeah, it felt great. If I was fighting for fourth, if it was between fourth or fifth, I probably wouldn’t have cared so much. But the podium—I wanted it pretty bad.
iRunFar: If you’re in that position…
Hazen: I mean, I was fighting for it hard all day.
iRunFar: Did you have any low patches outside of Cal Street? How low was that? Were you completely spent or were you just like ehhhh?
Hazen: I was never like tanked out bonking or anything like that. It was just some low points where I feel bad. I still, most of the day, was moving really well.
iRunFar: So you weren’t feeling bad thinking, Maybe I’m not going to make it?
Hazen: Yeah, I always felt… there was a little bit of worry heading down Cal Street. Gosh, I’ve got 22 miles left, and I feel terrible on this descent, but I kind of figured things would turn around once I got past that. Then right around mile 40 earlier in the race, I dug myself into a little bit of a hole with hydration and whatnot. I was able to turn that around which was kind of a lifesaver because 40 miles in I was like, Oh boy, I’ve got a long day ahead of me.
iRunFar: Your nutrition was alright all day?
Hazen: Yeah, it was perfect. No stomach issues.
iRunFar: What is that? Do you have a plan every hour to do…?
Hazen: Yeah, I was taking Honey Stinger Waffles every 45 minutes. That’s pretty much all I ate all day. I had one Clif Bar other than that.
iRunFar: Solid foods. Sports drink or water?
Hazen: Yeah. Both. I used some Skratch Labs drink mix and it was perfect. I was shocked that I had no stomach issues at all.
iRunFar: Nice, well first, you’re taking a little break. I know this was the focus on the season, I’m guessing. Are you doing anything planned after the break or are you going to decide that later?
Hazen: No plans.
iRunFar: Your season is not done though?
Hazen: No, definitely not done. The one that I can really think of is going to The North Face 50 at the end of the year since there’s nothing else going on at that time. No, I definitely want to do something later this fall.
iRunFar: So you’re actually going to take a decent down period then?
Hazen: Yeah, I think I need one.
iRunFar: You’ve been focusing since Bandera. That’s a long stretch.
Hazen: Yeah, so I don’t know. Last year I ran this race and then ran a 50k and tried to do Run Rabbit Run, and that didn’t go well.
iRunFar: Recharge those batteries. Congratulations.
iRunFar: Bonus question for you, Jared. As far as I know you don’t have a shoe sponsor, so you have a completely objective choice in what shoes you wear. What shoes did you wear out there?
Hazen: I wore the Montrail Fluid Flex ST. It has a small rock plate in the forefoot and is a little bit more firm than just the Fluid Flex. It’s a 5mm drop. It’s about perfect.
iRunFar: Awesome. Thank you.