"Me? I'm running 18 miles tomorrow morning."

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

We had a girls night with the ladies of Townsquare Media on Friday night and as we were going around the table sharing our weekend plans, everyone just stared at me when I said that. Over the past couple weeks, we've had a lot of awesome new ladies join the team and those who don't know me well yet wanted to know how I got into marathon running. Trust me, after quitting college cross country and track, I would've never thought I'd run longer than a 6K.

But then I got introduced to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's "Team in Training" here in Boise.  I did my first marathon with them.  If you're not familiar with the program, participants pick a half or full marathon, triathlon or 100 mile bike ride to train for and they get their coaching for free.  Rather than paying for your training, you raise funds to help fund blood cancer research and provide patient services to those suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma while you're training.  Every Saturday during the group meet-up they have someone present a "mission moment" to remind us how much we're making a difference. I'll never forget our first training session where a woman name Lyn brought a huge garbage bag full of empty pill bottles that once held all of the medications her little boy had to take during his treatment. That visual stuck with me.  He went through hell and back just to be able to run and play with his friends.  I was a healthy woman in my 20s. 26.2 miles didn't seem nearly as painful as what he had to go through.  I could totally do this, right? I could and I did.  Having that "mission"  in mind kept me going even when I was tired or something was chafing.

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Ben Blessing is a lot like me, but he's got another cause.  He's trying to fund the installation of something called a "Buddy Bench" and Endeavor and Snake River Elementary Schools in Nampa.  The bench is a place where kiddos who feel like they don't have anyone to play with at recess can go sit on the playground. When other kids see somebody sitting on that bench, they're encouraged to go ask that student to play with them and could lead to forming some new friendships. As someone who probably would've been sitting on that bench (I dreaded recess for that exact same reason when I was younger) I think that's pretty awesome.

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The benches cost about $1600 to buy and install at the two schools, so Ben's planning to run the Pulse Endurance Race in a few weeks as a way to raise money for them. A couple of my friends have done this race before and it's pretty insane the way it works.  Held at Eagle Island, hopefuls see how many miles they can complete over a 48 hour time span.  They run the same 2.5 mile loop the entire time.

Ben's set up a GoFund me account to go along side his participation in the race.  He hopes that doing something uncomfortable, he can bring attention to his cause and inspire donations to get the benches for the school.  At press time, he was about 42% of the way toward his goal.

If you'd like to help Ben out, you can make a donation HERE.