Well I finished! I can't really say that I did much more than that, but I am happy that I at least got the satisfaction of crossing the finish line. Through mile 19 I managed to stay on pace at around 10 minutes/mile, which I would have ultimately been satisfied with if I had maintained that pace for the remainder of the race. The last 7.2 miles, however, got progressively more difficult and I was ultimately set back on time. I was satisfied with how I finished - with the finish line so close I ran the last two miles strong. I was also pleased that my legs stayed strong - after the 20 mile training run I was nervous that my joints would not hold up for the entire course of the marathon, but they actually felt decent after I finished. I felt good cardio wise as well. If in the future I were to repeat the marathon experience, the main lesson learned that I would be sure to apply would be to train more regularly using gu gels and making sure to carefully monitor my intake of Gatorade (even when mixed half-and-half with water). For whatever reason my stomach was particularly sensitive to this combination (probably too much sugar) on race day, and this really limited me for the final segment of the race.
The Carlsbad marathon was really a great experience - thousands of spectators and volunteers really made it enjoyable. I loved seeing friends along the route, and even made a few new ones along the way amongst my fellow runners. I can see why some people really enjoy running marathons - it is an electric and fun atmosphere, and it is really the anonymous fans and volunteers rooting you on that make it that way. (Which by the way I would like to take this chance to thank all of the volunteers that spent the majority of their Sunday setting up, passing out water and gu, cleaning up, and cheering us all on - all of you are AMAZING!)
As of right now I do not have plans to complete another full marathon in the near future. I do plan on participating in the La Jolla and America's Finest City half marathons to hopefully complete the Triple Crown. If my joints ever recover from years of abuse, then I would definitely consider running another full since the competitive side of me knows that I can do better than I did. However, until then, I will set my sights on half marathons while enjoying some competitive soccer and cross training.