My LetMeBeYourLungs Experience: Elizabeth Scott Montgonery
My name is Elizabeth Montgomery, lovingly dubbed Lizcredible. At the age of 28, I decided enough was enough, and I began running six weeks after the birth of my third child. I had no idea what I was doing, but to stay motivated I started signing up for races and eventually found obstacle course racing.
As I started to find my strengths and weaknesses, I started more road running and really got into it. I have had a few setbacks, including a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, and injuries here and there, but I love being active, and racing has helped bring me through some very difficult times in my life, including my divorce.
When I was in my second year of college, my aunt, Lynn Bastian, was diagnosed with PAH. I remember scouring my anatomy and physiology books trying to understand it. I remember being terrified. As I went through nursing school there was not much discussed about this disease. The biggest advocate for education and awareness was my aunt; she even sent me a great book in a care package so I could learn more about PAH.
In my eight years as a registered nurse, I could probably count on one hand the number of PH patients I have encountered. You can see their faces light up when I can discuss the medications and disease processes with them, because of my greatest teacher, Lynn Bastian.
Flash forward to 2017! I had the opportunity and honor of becoming a member of Team PHenomenal Hope. The previous year I had completed five half marathons, so the time had come for the big show. I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to tackle a marathon in honor of Aunt Lynn.
Training was a challenge. I am a single mom of three wonderful children and a full time registered nurse with two jobs. I had to squeeze in runs here and there and get creative. To top things off, while squeezing in a quick three miler in July, I rolled my ankle on a trail, only to find out I had a small avulsion fracture to my right tibia.
Training was set back four weeks. I began running with my friend, Ben, through the rural corn fields of Earlville, Ill. and completing long runs circling my parents’ subdivision in a one mile loop for hours on end. I found serenity when afforded the time to run through the Silver Springs Forest Preserve. I received guidance from my CrossFit coaches, Spartan coach, and a doctor I worked with in ER who had a few Boston Marathons under his belt. I started to believe in myself.
The big day came up quick! The morning of the Fox Valley Marathon I was excited and terrified. It was forecasted to be, and did reach 94 degrees on September 17, 2017! I stuck with my training plan. Around mile eight the constant pounding on my ankle began to get to me. By mile 13, it was the size of a grapefruit and every step was excruciating. I heard my mom, cousin, and aunt were there to support me, so I pushed on. A friend came and found me at mile 18 and joined for support.
When I saw my family with signs and cheers, I felt so happy, words cannot describe the overwhelming feeling of love and support. It renewed my purpose, and I knew I could finish despite the pain. I had to finish, and Aunt Lynn had to see me cross that finish line! My family met me at the end. It took two hours longer than I intended, because of my injury. In six and a half hours I finished, and the hug from Aunt Lynn at the end was the greatest feeling of accomplishment and pride; I’m tearing up just remembering!
This year I continue to be a member of Team PHenomenal Hope and the #LetMeBeYourLungs program to run for my aunt, and others like her, who can’t. To say this diagnosis is life changing is an understatement. There is not enough awareness of the disease or what the patients go through with medications, constant doctors appointments, and never ending battles just to feel “normal”. I’ve been given the ability and gift to be able to use my body to do these things, so I want to use this gift as my voice for these patients, to help in any way I can.
This year will be a little different. I found out the night before my marathon I have a tiny teammate running with me. My loving boyfriend and I have named him Miles, in honor of him running his first marathon with Mommy. He is an excellent conversation starter to raise more awareness of Team PH and what we do. Great things are coming this year, and we can’t wait to start February 10th with the Cupid Undie Run!