SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Army News Service, Feb. 5, 2013) -- Capt. Kelly Calway had to overcome a unique obstacle to successfully defend her individual women's crown at the 2013 Armed Forces Cross Country Championships in St. Louis.

It was not a creek, log, ravine, steep hill or a determined opponent, the sort of things cross-country runners are accustomed to conquering, that Calway faced during the run. It was something much more disconcerting.

Calway's spikes were stolen from the backseat of her rental car by someone who smashed a passenger-side window while she was running the course at Forest Park on the eve of the championship race. Along with Calway's cleats went her cell phone and wallet, leaving her without identification for a Sunday flight home to Colorado Springs, Colo., where she commands a unit at Fort Carson, Colo.

"When I got back to the car, four different cars had their windows smashed and everything stolen," said Calway, who actually ran by the car three times during her workout. "The policeman said: 'Welcome to St. Louis.'"

In the spirit of sister services, the all-Navy women provided Calway with a pair of running spikes, which are quite difficult to find anywhere, particularly with little time to spare. In the spirit of competition, quite naturally, the shoes were a half-size too small for Calway, who ran in them anyway.

Calway said she ran well in St. Louis, considering that she ran the Houston Marathon on Jan. 13. She placed seventh as first American finisher in Houston with a 26.2-mile time of 2 hours, 41 minutes and 53 seconds.

In St. Louis, she wanted to accomplish the mission and resume normal life. She won the Armed Forces women's 8-kilometer race in 29 minutes, 25.7 seconds, and led all-Army to the team title, to boot.

"I didn't have a whole lot of turnover in my legs and I was a victim of theft on my day-before shakeout on the course," explained Calway, 28. "They broke into the car and stole my spikes and my wallet and my phone, so I was a little distracted by that. There were no spikes in the area because cross country is normally a fall sport. I called around to all the stores and nobody had any spikes.

"So the Navy actually let me have a pair of their spikes, which was really generous and really nice. The only problem was they were a half-size too small. My toes are killing me. I'm going to lose all my toenails. It smashed up my feet really bad, but I was just glad to have spikes because it was a really muddy course and I couldn't have run without them."

The snow-covered course turned muddy as runners churned the frozen tundra during preliminary races while temperatures climbed from the low-20s into the mid-30s for the senior women's and men's chases.

"It was pretty nasty out there, but I think cross country should be that way," Calway said. "I had to replace the shoes, get a phone, find some form of identification so I could put myself on a plane and get home. My husband [sent] my passport. It all ended up working out, but it was definitely interesting.

"I definitely still had the goal of getting out there and defending the title. I certainly wasn't going to give it up easily. So I'm really glad I won, especially after all that."