12 marathons, 19 half marathons, 100-mile bike rides, and triathlons: Kristin Rapp’s athletic achievements are impressive. What’s more is that Kristin has Homocystinuria (HCU) and manages the low protein diet while training.
How does she do it? What keeps her motivated? We sat down with Kristin to answer this and more.
Kristin was diagnosed with HCU as an infant, and she has successfully managed the condition into adulthood. Kristin currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area. Besides running, Kristin spends her free time acting as Treasurer of HCU Network America, a leading HCU patient group in the U.S.
When it comes to running, Kristin first started in 2006 at a race event in Philadelphia.
“I was active in sports in school and college, so I was interested in giving [running] a try. I started training, and it felt so wonderful after the finish!”
Kristin kept at it. Then, a big turning point came in 2011: “I met someone else with HCU for the very first time,” says Kristin, describing the first national HCU Conference in Colorado.
It was a moving experience for her as she realized that other people with HCU had significant challenges due to the disorder. It got her thinking about how she could further connect to the HCU community.
“I thought I could combine my passion for running with fundraising and inspiring others with HCU.”
What started as a thought has turned into a successful passion project: Kristin started training with a rare disease running and fundraising team, she started a blog about running and HCU, and she completed elite marathons in New York, Boston, and D.C., among other places.
How does she stay motivated mile after mile? Kristin is fueled by the community:
“I dedicate each mile of a race to different people with HCU who I know or who may have passed away. I think about them during that mile.”
It’s an amazing motivator, and you can tell that thinking about and being inspired by the HCU community is one of the most important parts of Kristin’s race preparation.
As for diet and training, Kristin is used to running and managing the low protein diet after her many years of experience. Some of Kristin’s favorite foods for fuel are bananas and low protein pastas.
Want to read more about nutrition and sports training for athletes with disorders of amino acid metabolism? Check out our introductory sports series on our blog.
For aspiring runners and marathoners with inborn errors or metabolism like HCU, Kristin is cheering them on:
“Talk with your metabolic clinic. Don’t feel limited. There are other young adults who are athletic in the HCU community. We share info on preparing for races.”
As for what’s next for Kristin, she has plans to run the Berlin, Germany, marathon in 2020! Also, she raised $10,000 during 2019 for HCU research and plans to continue fundraising for HCU.
While her race medals are impressive, what’s most inspiring is her commitment to the community. Go, Kristin, go!
Always consult your metabolic healthcare professionals before making any changes to diet and exercise routines.
If you are an aspiring runner with an inborn error of metabolism such as HCU and are looking for a peer to connect with, Kristin is happy to connect. Contact her at KClubbs@hcunetworkamerica.org
For more on Kristin, visit her blog on running and HCU.
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