Don’t Just Survive Military Life …. Run It.

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Looking for a little military spouse running inspiration?

Go no further than Capt. Kelly Brown Calway. A dual-military family mom of two currently stationed at West Point, New York, Calway doesn’t just run because it keeps her in shape. She runs because it’s a little slice of sanity in this crazy military life – and because she loves it.

If you’re a runner, prepared to be wowed by these statistics: in October, 2013 Calway won the Marine Corps Marathon in 2:42:16, only one week after finishing the Army Ten-Miler in 57:06, the fastest military female. Quick math — that’s an average 6:11 minute mile for the marathon, and an average 5:45 minute mile for the 10 miler. (My fastest one mile ever was 7:31. And I’m pretty sure it almost killed me). Just a few weeks later she deployed to Afghanistan.

Since those races she’s had another child and turned her laser focus on recovering from pregnancy (her baby is 4-months-old), killing the Army 10-Miler in October and acing the Olympic trials in February of next year.

Balancing family, career, the schedule of her Army husband and that kind of running takes some major dedication – something military spouses can relate to as they try to navigate squeezing running or other fitness into their military lives.

And even though the vast majority of us (definitely including me) are not going to the Olympic team trials any time soon ever there are a few things we can take away from Calway’s use of running as a tool.

Running is a great way to make friends. It’s easy to make friends when you’re a runner, Calway says. All you have to do is find other runners and start talking about shoes, trails, gear, food, races and on and on. “Everyone can connect through running – it doesn’t matter if you’re finishing at the front of the pack or the back of the pack,” she said. “You all have this bond of mutually shared pain. You’re out there, you’re toughing it out it. … You just have this bond that people who don’t run just don’t understand.”

Running is a really easy to find outlet for the crazy. Runners know that everything is a little easier after you’ve flushed the crazy out during a run. “It’s my outlet, it keeps me sane,” she told me. “Even if the weather is bad, I need the relief.” But the really nice thing about running, Calway said, is that it’s so easy to access. “All you need is a pair of shoes and somewhere to run or a treadmill,” she said.

Military life makes running easy. Calway said she started running as an Army brat, in part thanks to the availability of inexpensive races on base. If you’re looking for a way to start running, Calway said pick a cheap short distance race on base and just get out there.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.