Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Female Super-Athlete Finds Inspiration in Army Life

By Jennifer Caprioli
U.S. Army Garrison Fort Huachuca

June 2, 2010 - Army Capt. Kelly Calway doesn't don a cape, fight crime on a daily basis or possess any sort of superhuman powers. Yet, Calway, the Army's 2008 Female Athlete of the Year, indeed is a super heroine. She is defending her country and raising a family, while preparing to join the World Class Athlete Program.

Calway is attending the military intelligence Captain's Career Course here. She's 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 Army community and its values.

She began running competitively at age 8, 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 intelligence career course, 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."

Calway's life-long goal is 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 at the Boston Marathon, when she dashed across the finish line at 2 hours, 59 minutes and 45 seconds.

The athlete program assigned Kelly a coach, who provides a monthly schedule that requires Calway 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 said. "Usually once a month I'll get a day off."

Calway says the amount of running she does affects many aspects of her life, including her 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.

Calway said she and her husband are "totally partners." The couple folds laundry together, she said, 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," Calway added, noting her husband is her No. 1 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 athlete training 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, noting he and his wife were able to have alternating deployment cycles.

Calway's goal-oriented nature has produced a positive impact on her life, her husband said.

"She always has a goal on her mind and every day is a small goal to achieve that big one," Chris explained, noting his wife keeps a "goal book," which was inspired by her father.

"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," the Army athlete said.

Kelly said she's not sure what life after the program will bring, but she'd like to take command of the WCAP Company, and has visions of managing its social networking tools and recruiting program.

Calway has one piece of advice that she gives to everyone: "Hard work pays off."

"Running more generally pays off," she said, "so hard work, putting in the mileage and speed workouts definitely pay off.

"Setting goals and achieving them is always motivation."

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