Jared Hazen has made his first trip to Spain to run this weekend’s Transgrancanaria. In the following interview, Jared talks about what went wrong during the second half of his 2019 season, how he almost canceled his run at Transgrancanaria after his run at the Vibram Hong Kong 100k in January, and what weakness he addressed ahead of TGC.
Read our in-depth preview to see who else is racing and follow our live race-day coverage.
Jared Hazen Pre-2020 Transgrancanaria Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Jared Hazen before the 2020 Transgrancanaria. How are you, Jared?
Jared Hazen: Doing good Bryon, how are you?
iRunFar: Alright. Is this your first trip to Spain?
Hazen: Yeah, first time.
iRunFar: How’s it been so far?
Hazen: This is nice. The island is really nice, we’ve been getting some pretty sweet weather, so looking forward to running across it.
iRunFar: Yeah, where have you been, you haven’t been staying down here by the ocean, where have you been spending your time?
Hazen: Maybe 20 kilometers up into the mountains, so getting on some cool trails and stuff. Haven’t been on the course too much, but I’ve been getting a little taste of what the trails are like here.
iRunFar: How do they compare to back home in Flagstaff, Arizona?
Hazen: Fairly similar, I would say. Maybe a bit rockier but yeah, this side of the island reminds me a bit of running in Phoenix or the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It’s desert-y and kind of rocky and not a whole lot of vegetation.
iRunFar: Yeah, looks a little unforgiving.
iRunFar: Obviously, you are up in Flagstaff, it’s full-on winter. And at least some of the winter you got some good storms, how’s the heat for you right now?
Hazen: It’s okay. Yeah, at times it’s felt a little warm, being here by the ocean it feels pretty nice, we have a nice breeze. The temperatures aren’t that high. I think most days it’s been around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. But when the sun’s out it feels pretty warm. I have been doing some sauna training in the past couple months and most of this race is run in the dark so it won’t be too warm.
iRunFar: Just a couple hours there right at the end.
Hazen: A few hours at the end it seems like it gets hot and everybody kind of talks about that.
iRunFar: You’ve prepared for that?
Hazen: Yeah, hopefully the sauna comes in handy.
iRunFar: You had a pretty spectacular first half of 2019.
iRunFar: Just ‘period,’ right?
Hazen: Yeah, I was happy with how things went last year.
iRunFar: And then you decided to jump into the Leadville [Trail 100 Mile]?
Hazen: Yeah, tough one at Leadville.
iRunFar: What happened there?
Hazen: Probably not quite ready to run 100 miles again. Particularly trying to run a fast 100 miles again. I’ve never really been too good at figuring out what to do after the Western States 100, so I thought I felt pretty good after Western States and started training again and was kind of like, back and forth. Some good days, some bad days. But enough good days that I thought, I’ll go try to run Leadville like I was in shape.
iRunFar: And you decided around Hardrock  time, like mid-July, yeah?
Hazen: Yeah, yeah. So I think I was about that time getting into some bigger weeks of training again. As I got into some heavy training, nothing went terribly bad, but nothing was great either. I kind of went into the race knowing that maybe it wasn’t the greatest plan, but I would give it a try and it turned out not to be a great plan.
iRunFar: Yeah, it just happened.
Hazen: Yeah, so I dropped out fairly early in the race, 40-ish miles, and then kind of called it a summer. Started getting ready for fall races.
iRunFar: And fall?
Hazen: Fall was supposed to be [The] North Face [Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships] and then I fell really hard running in the Grand Canyon and I hit my knee really hard on either a rock or a log tie and I was injured for the race. I kind of thought when I hit it, it hurt, but….
iRunFar: And you came out to San Francisco.
Hazen: Every day I was like, it’s gonna’ be better, it’s gonna’ be better, but I would go run and it was really sore still. So I didn’t run the race and then it wasn’t too long after the race, like a week later, it was pretty much good enough to start training on.
iRunFar: It means in the second half of the year you raced 40 miles?
Hazen: Yeah, pretty much.
iRunFar: And 40 miles not all out because it was the start of 100 miler. Was it at all nice to kind of have a… I mean, you don’t have injuries but you feel refreshed or…? Eager to get back?
Hazen: Yeah, I guess so. I was eager, I wanted to start the year early after that because I had put in a pretty long training block for The North Face 50 that went for nothing. So yeah, that was a disappointing end to the year. I picked the first real competitive race of the year.
iRunFar: Time to go to Vibram Hong Kong [100k].
Hazen: Went to Hong Kong, yeah.
iRunFar: And that was an okay performance?
Hazen: Yeah, it was okay. I think….
iRunFar: What was the challenge there for you?
Hazen: A big part of it was heat and humidity. It wasn’t terribly hot, but was a bit humid. I think it was enough to cause some problems. Starting later into the race, like mile 40-ish, I got a little bit of cramping and then kind of got sick and threw up. The last 22 miles are actually really difficult in that race. I was kind of going into the last third of the race in not the greatest shape. Yeah, I was more hanging in there, just trying to march to the finish and not so much racing hard anymore. I took fifth and it was okay. It wasn’t great.
iRunFar: How have things gone since then?
Hazen: Good, yeah, I think I was a little discouraged after Hong Kong. I had Transgrancanaria on the schedule, but it’s like, “Now, I’m not gonna’ go. I don’t want another Hong Kong experience.” And I was just starting this semester [at school]. I’m going to be really busy, but then I kind of second thought it. I thought I was close to having a good race at Hong Kong and I was like, “I think I can go home for a month or so, get in some good training, and I think I’m close. I think I have a good race in me.”
iRunFar: Yeah, and you still think that?
Hazen: Yeah, yeah. Things have went well, I kind of doubled down on some of my weaknesses over the past six weeks. Hopefully I come here ready for the big race.
iRunFar: So what do you consider your weaknesses?
Hazen: Technical downhill, particularly at Hong Kong, I was getting dropped on the downhills by everybody.
Hazen: I was climbing really well and so I would catch people on the climbs and then get dropped on the descents. I think similarly to here, there’s quite a bit of climbing and descending.
iRunFar: I mean, mile for mile probably on par with the most you’ve done in a race.
Hazen: Yeah, I think it’s like maybe 20,000 feet, maybe a little bit more climbing over 80 miles. But a lot of that comes in the first 50 miles and then it’s downhill to the finish. So it will be….
iRunFar: You trust that…?
Hazen: Yeah, I’ve done the most vertical training I’ve done in a training block for the past month. We’ll see if I’m ready.
iRunFar: Yeah, put that to the test. Alright Jared, good luck out there and have fun.
Hazen: Thanks Bryon.
iRunFar: Thank you.