Meet RUNColumbus team member Carol Bitzinger. Carol lives with her husband, Derek, and dogs, Daisy and Josie. (Daisy’s on a forced running hiatus for the moment…she broke her foot chasing a squirrel.) Carol is working toward upping her mileage and getting under a 10-minute mile. She plans to complete the required six RUNColumbus races this year and see where it takes her, but her hope is to be in a place where she feels like she can tackle the Cap City Half next year.
Why/when did you start running? I hated running as a kid! If you do team sports, you know that running is often a punishment. I also don’t think I really understood the benefits running has on overall conditioning back in the day…and I was always really slow, so I thought running was something I’d never be “good” at.
As an adult, I did a few charity 5Ks with pretty minimal training – if I can shout out the CHA Dog Jog and the CRIS 5K, those were the charity run/walks that I did starting around 2018. After I got COVID in 2021, though, my long-haul symptom was a pins-and-needles sensation in my legs. I wasn’t super active at that point in the pandemic, and running became part of my symptom management and recovery. Eventually, I quit hating running. I’ve gradually gotten faster, and now I run 3-4 times a week with a handful of races scattered in over the past year.
What is your favorite aspect(s) of running? It’s been nice to see steady progress! Running has been a great example and reminder that if you put the effort into something, you will see the benefits. It’s also cliche, but the runner’s mantra that “you can do hard things” is true: the fact that I’ve built up my fitness level and can now do something I used to unequivocally dread is a great feeling, and it’s changed my mental outlook on my own determination and resiliency. And while I’m still not topping leaderboards, I love the rush of going fast…er. 😉 Honestly, though? Part of me is just a dork and is excited that running provides me with an excuse to buy lots of sneakers.
What excites you about being part of the RUNColumbus Race Series and Team? I’ve already gotten to learn about and sign up for races that I never would have had on my radar before, so that’s been cool. And the Run for More Birthdays got me a slice of cake! Beyond that, the series feels like a good complement to improving as a newer runner, supporting my overall goals, and letting me test out some new race distances that I haven’t tried yet.