PPTC Member Spotlight: Adam Iannazzone
Interview and photo by PaFoua Hang
July’s Member Spotlight is on Adam Iannazzone. Adam has been a board member for over a year and is part of the Membership and Communications Committees, as well as the Social Media team. He grew up in the suburbs north of Atlanta, GA and moved to Washington Heights in 2013, and to Brooklyn in 2016.
While he spent the past five years teaching Earth Science and Physics in Queens, Adam moved to Highland, NY in June to start a new job teaching Computer Science and a Principles of Engineering Class.
When Adam is not running or teaching, he enjoys photography. You can check out some of his work at adam.iannaz.zone. Adam also used to do woodworking with his dad, so he is excited about moving upstate and being able to have more space to set up a workshop: His goal one day is to have all handmade furniture.
How did you find PPTC and why did you choose this club?
I joined PPTC in January 2017. My wife, Linnea, recommended the Club to me because she knew that I was running a marathon (NYCM) for the first time in 2017. She mentioned that she had seen the Club in Prospect Park. I also remembered seeing some of the Al Goldstein races during the summer and figured “why not?”
What do you like most about PPTC?
I like that runners of all ages, abilities, and pedigrees rub shoulders in the Club. We all have our preferred training groups/partners, but at the end of the day, everyone is supportive of everyone else. The Social Committee does an incredible job putting on events. As Tom Meany once said, “Running together makes us a club; the social committee makes us a family.” Or something like that. My favorite PPTC event is the Saturday group run. I look forward to it more than anything else during the week. It’s like the light at the end of the tunnel during a difficult work-week!
I know you have been a very active member of PPTC, especially behind the scenes in improving how the Club operates. Can you elaborate on a few projects you have worked on?
When I first joined the Club, I noticed that we had public-facing Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, but they had not been updated in years. Lillian Park and I were able to convince some Board members to give us the keys to all of the social media platforms. Since then, we have both been working together to post more updates about the Club. Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong also joined the Social Media team last year. Between the three of us, the Club’s social media presence has really grown.
At my first board meeting, several of the members had been looking into redesigning the website via Squarespace. I volunteered to take the reins since I was out of school for the summer and put together the first draft. This also involved streamlining our back-end tech, so I switched everything over to Google Apps to consolidate our domain, committee email lists, and photo storage. I also helped to migrate all committee communications into Slack because it would cut out a lot of the inefficient back and forth that happens over multiple email chains.
How did you start running and what keeps you going?
I started running in college (2011-ish) to stay in shape after too many second-dinners at the freshman dining hall. One day I put on some old Pumas and ran as long as I could on the treadmill in the school gym. When my dad found out, he took me to Pheidippides (the running store in Atlanta founded by Galloway) to get fitted for some shoes.
I don’t know what else I would do with my free time if not for running? But seriously, running every day has become part of my routine. I enjoy pushing my body further than I ever thought possible, and the camaraderie I’ve found in the Club is second to none.
What do you think about or listen to when you run?
I often run with only my watch and my thoughts. I sometimes listen to podcasts (anything from NPR), and without a doubt, my favorite podcast is Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me! from WBEZ. It’s the only thing that can make me laugh about the news, and I sometimes find myself struggling to run, breath, and laugh at the same time.
What is your best running memory?
Last year, I went back to Atlanta to visit family and snagged a lottery spot in the AJC Peachtree Road Race (10K). It was the first race that I ever ran. It’s always a blast since it’s on July 4th, and the whole city comes out. One part of the course goes by a fancy condominium where I used to be a valet/doorman, and as I was running by, I heard someone shout my name. I was so tickled that they recognized me in running gear after five years!
What is your favorite overall race EVER?
The NYRR Brooklyn Half by far. It’s our hometown race, and I actually relish the straight, flat grind of Ocean Parkway. I can really lock in my pace and always perform well. The half marathon distance is also my favorite race distance because it’s a nice, long race, but you don’t feel like someone has run beside you, beating your knees with a baseball bat the next day.
The 2019 NYRR Brooklyn Half race in particular was a big breakthrough for me. After struggling with an injury post-marathon for several months, I put in a lot of consistent easy miles leading up to the race, peaking around 50 miles per week. I was putting a lot of focus on aerobic fitness since speedwork seemed to aggravate the issue. Noah Devereaux and I went out together from the start of that race, trying to maintain even pacing until we got inside Prospect Park. We eased off on Zoo Hill, then made up the time coming down West Drive. Once we got to Ocean Parkway, we locked in around 5:55/mi and went on cruise control. I started to pull away from Noah around mile 10 and really pushed my last mile to 5:38/mi for a finish of 1:17:36, a 6-minute PR!
Are you currently training for a race or a running goal? And would you mind telling us about how you are working towards these goals?
My next big race is the Philadelphia Marathon. It’s too early to give a specific goal, but I’m hoping for something under 2:50:00. I hope to one day hit 2:30:00 in the marathon and 1:09:00 in the half.
I have been experimenting with self-coaching since the 2018 Brooklyn Half after reading Run Faster by Brad Hudson (Noah’s recommendation). I really enjoy the flexibility that self-coaching affords; I have to hit certain targets throughout the week, but I feel confident in shuffling things around or altering workouts as things come up in my life.
What is your pre-race ritual, if any, the night before a race and during the morning of?
I always have a bagel and coffee in the morning before I head out. Other than that, nothing special.
What is your favorite recovery tool and post-race meal?
I like my Air-Relax pants, mostly because Linnea thinks they’re the stupidest thing I’ve ever spent money on. I like to eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream after a long run or hard race. I like the ones with lots of stuff in them – New York Super Fudge Chunk, Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, and Phish Food. But none of that Cookie Core crap. It’s just a way to sell you less ice cream for the same price.
Any advice you would give to new runners or your younger running self?
Listen to your body. If you need a day off, take it – missing part of your training plan may feel like it will ruin everything, but it’s much less disruptive than a prolonged illness or injury.
Anything else you would like your teammates to know about you?
After three years in Brooklyn and six in the city, my wife and I are moving up to the Hudson Valley. Leaving behind all of my friends and running partners in the Club was the hardest part of this decision by far, but I still plan to be an active member online, including helping with some of the digital backend for now. I also want to come down for some of the Club Points races, so I should see everyone from time to time!
Thank you all for being the biggest, most supportive, and fun family-away-from-home. Come visit upstate and run the trails with me!