Veteran walker starting Green Tree Walking Club
Green Tree resident Carol Paul in 2011 was an avid walker and took part in marathons.
Then she learned she had breast cancer.
“I was pretty upset, I guess, as anyone would be. But I also saw it as a challenge … I was very determined to do what I thought needed to be done,” Paul, 55, said.
She did just that.
Following outpatient lumpectomy surgery at UPMC Mercy hospital that February, followed by six weeks of radiation, Paul walked the Pittsburgh half-marathon.
She also completed the 13.1-mile half-marathon 34 seconds faster than her 2009 race time.
“All I know is I was ecstatic that I was able to do that. All my training was well worth it,” said Paul, who has been married to her husband, Wayne, for 29 years. They have two adult children, Keith, 24, and Erica, 21.
Paul never really exercised during her younger years. However, after some walking with friends for some exercise, she decided to try goal-oriented walking.
“I decided to train for a marathon,” Paul said, and she completed her first half marathon in 2009.
A year later, Paul walked a full marathon (26.2 miles). She then began to train for another half-marathon at the start of 2011.
When the news came following a mammogram that she had cancer, Paul decided to continue training.
“Going for radiation at the same time every day posed a challenge. But I had to stay extra organized and schedule my days around radiation, time to walk and extra sleep,” she said.
Training also was important for Paul, who developed a fondness for walking.
“(And) I continued to walk after the Pittsburgh half marathon because I had another goal in mind,” Paul said.
She ended up traveling about five hours to Philadelphia to walk the half marathon there in November, where she did well.
Now, Paul is putting together what she calls the Green Tree Walking Club. As a person who has always enjoyed walking at the Green Tree Walking Track behind Aiken School, she is hoping others will become involved in exercise.
It is an invitation to begin walking and perhaps someday train for a half marathon or marathon. Samantha O'Brien, a fellow walker, is a friend of Paul's.
“I just love the way she has overcome so much. Everyone has problems in life to get through, but she taught me a lot,” O'Brien said.
The walking club will start soon after Jan. 7, Paul said.
“The purpose of the club is to help people get off the couch and get outside, and get their heart going. There is nothing wrong with exercise,” Paul said.
She hopes to get the club going early next year. Anyone interested call her at 412-977-8963 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
From her own experience, Paul learned that “life needs to be changed by cancer.”
“But it doesn't need to be stopped,” she said.
Jeff Widmer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or firstname.lastname@example.org.