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Ruckmann-by Kubota!In the days leading up to my 19th marathon, I’m washing my hands more thoroughly to make sure I don’t catch a cold the week of the marathon as I have for my last three. After going through all the hard training, the body lets down even though all 26.2 miles for the actual marathon loom ahead.

I also have taken on minor muscle strains and pulls and taken off five or so pounds I always lose during months of training and more mindful eating. My blue blisters on my toes are a badge of honor. I read about but try not to overthink the marathon course. This Saturday’s run features a Heartbreak Hill that increases from 50 feet above sea level at the base to a steep 286 at its peak.

I have my running gear, including what I’m wearing, ready to go. I’ll aim for decent sleep and no major surprises this week.

Am I starting to get a little nervous? Sure, but to be truthful in a self-indulgent way. After all, I’ll be without parenthood responsibilities for several hours before, during and after the marathon. Whatever I face on the course, I’ll be able to translate into a new chapter in my life that will include a running theme but also recurring threads like faith, endurance, mind over matter, the love of my family.

It’s one thing to be a healthy man d’un certain âge in good shape, of modest means, but within grasp of my goal of completing 20 marathons. I’m also lucky that if I stumble on the course or anywhere else I have good health insurance to help me get back up.

The headlines and subheadings today about the Senate effort to repeal Obamacare include a pretty hefty fact: according to the Congressional Budget Office, if the bill were passed, 32 million more people in the United States would be uninsured than under current law. Here’s another piece of news that stands out: the new bill would mightily favor the very wealthy who may be going prematurely gray, but not because of wondering if they can afford to fall ill.

So while I take greater notice of my aches and pains these next few days, I’m also extremely grateful that I’ll get over them pretty easily and for insurance just in case anything truly serious were to happen.