My introduction to running came from my older sister, who, at the time was captain of the high school cross country team and invited me to join the team at a summer running camp being held at Indiana Dunes. Everyone was so friendly so I decided to join the running club in 6th grade which then turned into competitive running in 7th grade onward. I was blessed to be part of an insanely talented high school team at Naperville North (suburbia Chicago) that not only won the state championship but was also ranked 6th nationally. I never had the raw talent that some of my teammates had but I worked my booty off thanks to a very influential coach, supportive family, and awesome teammates which did earn me some collegiate recognition and allowed me to walk on, earn a spot, and a partial scholarship on two different division I cross country teams (Illinois State and Florida State University). My drive to study sports nutrition was in part to watching some of my very talented teammates on full scholarships struggle with disordered eating, distorted body image, injuries and poor performance. I also had always been fascinated by anything that could enhance health and performance having been diagnosed with elevated cholesterol levels at 12 and being a competitive multi-sport athlete growing up (swim team, soccer, basketball, cross country). My graduate research/thesis actually explored the prevalence of disordered eating, menstrual irregularities and bone loss-a trio of conditions known as the Female Athlete Triad and now also recognized as RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sport). In graduate school, I was fortunate to be able to establish my business model setting up a sports nutrition clinic out of a sports medicine facility that worked heavily with the collegiate athletes in the community. After earning my graduate degree in exercise physiology/sports nutrition emphasis, I was accepted by the VA Hospital in La Jolla to complete a dietetic internship and certification exam that allowed me to become a Registered Dietitian and set up my nutrition private practice. Continuing education never gets old and so I later went on to receive my board certification as a sports dietitian as well as a coaching certification from Road Runners Sports of America. I truly love helping others dial in their nutrition and training in a quest to optimize health and performance.
My biggest obstacle to overcome by a long shot was trying to bounce back quickly after back to back pregnancies in attempt to qualify for the US Olympic Marathon Trials for women. While I was running insanely well post-partum, the increase in volume as I transitioned from 10k to half marathon training 6-9 months post partum to marathon training was enough to trigger a nasty case of hip bursitis (nursing hormones, diastesis rectis, altered run gait after back to back vaginal births, sleep deprivation) didn't help this cause. I also later found out that some of the neurological symptoms (vertigo/extreme dizziness, fatigue) were caused by a genetic mutation that inhibited my body's ability to process B12....I was training with B12 levels only at 10% of where they should have been as a high performing athlete. By the time, medical intervention was initiated, my window of opportunity to qualify for the 2012 trials had closed. While disheartening, I know deep in my heart I was fit to qualify and truly I have no regrets. I see my drive in my 2 littles, now 5 & 6 years, and know that they learned thru watching me chase this dream that one should never give up regardless of what obstacles thrown their way nor should one ever feel defeated if they fall short when they have given their best.
Kim Mueller, MS, RD, CSSD
Owner, Fuel Factor Custom Nutrition & Training Plans
Part-Owner/Staff Nutritionist, Infinit Custom Nutrition Blend