With seven marathons and eight triathlons under his belt, Chris Bitcon’s
passion is running. A sprinter since his high school days, the 34-year-old
San Jose native intended to work in the field of athletic training, but
a running injury helped him discover the world of rehab. With a doctorate
in physical therapy from University of California, San Francisco, Bitcon
now works as the lead physical therapist at Torrance Memorial Medical
Center’s Transitional Care Unit, offering people his expertise in
healing their bodies. Between that and being the father of 4-year-old
daughter Brenna and 21-month-old son Nolan, Bitcon keeps pretty busy but
still manages to run for exercise every day, even if it means getting
up at 3:30 a.m. to do it.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT RUNNING THAT MAKES YOU SO PASSIONATE?
It’s the best bang for the buck. It’s a more condensed version
of exercise. I put on my running shoes, go out for 45 to 90 minutes, and
my workout is complete. Running is also the thing I’ve been the
most successful at. That’s the event where I have the most goals
IN APRIL YOU’LL RUN IN THE BOSTON MARATHON.
Boston is the pinnacle of my athletic career because I had to run a marathon
in three hours and five minutes to qualify for it. I qualified last February
when I ran the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach on Super Bowl Sunday.
IN A TYPICAL DAY HOW MUCH DO YOU EXERCISE?
I’m usually up about 4:45 a.m. and go for an hour and a half run,
to be home by 6:30 a.m. and then go to work by 7:30 a.m. I used to bike
the four miles to work, but now that I have kids, I’m responsible
for dropping them off or picking them up, so I drive to work. But when
I was training for my Ironman triathlon, I was waking up at 3:30 a.m.
I’d drive to the pool and park, then run down to the beach, do my
nine or 10 miles, then get in the water for an hour and a half and be
back home by 6:30 a.m.
DO YOU RUN EVERY DAY
Seven days a week. Religiously. Whether it’s hot, cold, dark or light,
I run. I even run when it’s raining. The only thing that really
bothers me is the wind. But I grit my teeth and still go running.
WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE EXERCISE?
I don’t go to the gym or lift weights. My goal is always to run.
I don’t need to do the weights in order to run unless I’m
YOUR WIFE, ERIN, IS ALSO A PHYSICAL THERAPIST. IS SHE INTO EXERCISE AND
She’s active, she’s on her feet all day long, but she’s
not an exerciser. If my wife was competing for my exercise time, that
would become an issue between us. If I had to take the morning off from
running because she wanted to go for a run, then I would be getting up
earlier to get my run in first, because that’s something I’m
not about to give up.
HOW MUCH DO YOU RIDE YOUR BICYCLE?
When not training for triathlons, cycling is very infrequent. When I am
training for a triathlon, during the week I do an hour to an hour and
a half on the trainer in my garage while watching Netflix. On the weekend,
I go out on the road for three to five hours, covering 60 to 80 miles.
I much prefer the road, but I have limited time and the garage is so convenient.
When I ride on the road, I am with friends and training buddies, so it
is much more enjoyable.
A LOT OF RUNNERS HAVE PROBLEMS WITH THEIR KNEES. HOW ARE YOUR KNEES?
I’m lucky—my knees are great. I love junk food and fast food,
but they cause inflammation and I can feel it in my knees. But if I eat
a pretty good diet and I’m running hard, my knees are fine.
YOU’RE ALSO INVOLVED WITH A RUNNING GROUP AT TORRANCE MEMORIAL, WHICH
JUST RELAUNCHED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR.
The group is called Rehab Runs Wild (RRW). We meet on Tuesday evenings.
We made shirts with the team logo and created nicknames for the team members.
I was named “Sensei” because I was the only one with a running
background. I’m like a consultant for the group, encouraging people
to run no matter what, trying to get people to sign up for events and
giving pointers/tips on anything running-related, including gear, shoes
IF I COME TO YOU FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY, ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE ME START RUNNING?
Only if you already like to run. When I start with a new patient, I ask
them what their goals are and what they enjoy doing. You want to find
something that the person enjoys and work from that. If they like walking,
then become a walker or a hiker. If they like cycling, then start biking.
If they like to swim, then work on swimming.