Olympic-hopeful runner finds inspiration in many facets of life
May 28, 2010
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- Capt. Kelly Calway doesn't don a cape, fight crime on a daily basis or possess any sort of superhuman powers. The 2008 Army Female Athlete of the Year is more of a modern-day superheroine, who is defending her country, raising a family, and preparing to enter the World Class Athlete Program.
Calway is currently enrolled in Fort Huachuca's Military Intelligence Captain's Career Course, assigned to Company A, 304th Military Intelligence Battalion.
Her choice to join the Army might have been inspired by her father, Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Europe, who encouraged her to enter the service. But her love for the military became apparent while she was enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at North Carolina State University. There, she realized how much she appreciated the community and the values of the Army.
She began running competitively at 8 years old when her physical education teacher suggested she join the track team.
"I just fell in love," she said, describing running as a "weird addiction."
In August, 26 year-old Calway, her husband Chris, also a captain enrolled in the MICCC, and their daughter, will head to Fort Carson, Colo. While there, Kelly will spend about two years training to run marathons in the WCAP's Track and Field section. Her goal is to make the Olympic trials, which will be held during the summer of 2012, in Houston, Texas.
"I get to go just train; my job is going to be a professional athlete in the Army," she said, adding, "It doesn't get any better than that," she says, anticipating the opportunity to run with other athletes.
The inspiration to strive for this goal, which she describes as a "dream come true," comes from her life-long dream of wanting to compete in the Olympics.
In December 2007, she submitted her application and portfolio, and was accepted based on her running times. Calway aims to improve her time while at Fort Carson. Last year she reached her fastest time while at the Boston Marathon when she dashed across the finish line at 2 hours, 59 minutes and 45 seconds.
The program assigned Kelly a coach, who e-mails a monthly schedule, which requires her to run about 80 miles each week.
"It's a lot of work especially to be working fulltime and having a family," she said. "I did it in college and it wasn't that big of a deal, but now I have to make dinner and put my daughter to bed. It's hard but totally worth it."
Her seven-days-a-week running schedule doesn't normally allow her any days off. "Occasionally I'll get rewarded ... my coach will write 'get a massage,' but it's not enjoyable because I'm in a lot of pain," she explained, adding, "usually once a month I'll get a day off."
Kelly says the amount of running she does affects many aspects of her life, including a social life.
"I try to do everything but there are mornings when I can't go out for a hike with friends because I have to run, but I do races and end up socializing there," she explained.
Family life is also sometimes affected by Kelly's schedule, but she said her and Chris are "totally partners." The couple folds laundry together, and if she won't be home in time to make dinner then Chris will make it.
"We have to share the responsibilities of everything," she added, noting her husband is her number one supporter.
Although it seems the Calways must maintain an organized lifestyle, Kelly jokingly disagreed by noting, "I have no organizational skills. We try, but we have to be flexible."
For instance when Kelly found out she was accepted into the program, Chris had to immediately request to be sent to Fort Carson too.
"We're really lucky we've both been able to stay in [the military] with a daughter," Chris explained. The Calways were able to have alternating deployment cycles, and Kelly's parents were in Hawaii when the couple was stationed there.
Luck might not be the sole reason for Kelly's success; being goal-oriented might have also had an impact on her life.
"She always has a goal on her mind and every day is a small goal to achieve that big one," Chris explained, noting she keeps a "goal book," which was inspired by her father. But she finds motivation all around her.
"It always inspires me to see a Soldier that could just be mediocre, go to superstar really quickly and be able to achieve all their goals," she said, adding, "We talk about our goals and I think that validates it too."
Kelly said she's not sure what life after the program will bring, but would like to take command of the WCAP Company, and has visions of managing their social networking tools, and recruiting for the program.
When this passionate athlete transfers to a unit she immediately gets to work by putting out information to Soldiers about running, finding the correct shoe type, creating training plans to help them "train smart," and the importance of nutrition.
"I love to put that information out because a lot of it's not out there," she explained, adding, "It's an art form just like anything else."
She has one piece of advice that she gives to everyone: "hard work pays off."
"Running more generally pays off, so hard work, putting in the mileage and speed workouts definitely pay off," she said.
"Setting goals and achieving them is always motivation."
Despite the challenges of her lifestyle, Kelly said she's happy with the path she chose.
"I always intend to be a runner, for the rest of my life, even if I'm that person running so slow down the road that it looks like I'm walking."