Body: My legs can actually hold up to 42.4 miles in 2 days (who knew?) at a 14:58 minutes per mile average pace without injury, undue soreness, or major pain if I pace, recover, and refuel sensibly. I did experience some significant ankle swelling about 36 hours post-marathon, even though I tried to keep ibuprofen intake low. Fresh shoes a size bigger than normal were a lifesaver on the second day.
Recovery: As much as I dislike icing my feet, it works to cut the inflammation. Plus a 30-60 minute soak in a warm-to-cool swimming pool does wonders for recuperation.
Races: The crowded races with lots of spectators are fun on occasion, but they can also be distracting and annoying, and certainly don’t do anything for my speed. I found the quiet wooded areas of the marathon course to be a peaceful respite.
Hydration/electrolytes: Seemed to be right on target for these races – I think I’ve got that aspect well-calibrated for my physiology under moderate weather conditions, as long as water stops are plentiful. I was very well-hydrated (3 or 4 pit stops during the marathon) but didn’t have any low-sodium problems like finger swelling or dizziness. Note to self - as long as I'm not overheated at any time, just two Imodium work great.
Gel: I like my home brew better than any commercial gel I’ve tried. But I need to use a better fuel belt for my homemade gel or carry commercial packets for marathons. One large flask doesn’t work well while running. Plus if I lose it (like I did just before the marathon start) I’m toast.
Pace/training: I can currently finish a marathon (in moderate weather) well under 7 hours, even though the only workout over 13.1 miles in the previous 9 weeks was 16.2 miles the day before. 15 min/mile is a sustainable long distance jog:walk pace for me under most conditions, even while fatigued and sleep-deprived, especially if I do 5:1 jog:walk intervals from the very start. ~6:30 may be my approximate worst-case scenario time in a flat Ironman run under moderate weather without injuries.
Guinness. Sure tastes great toward the end of a marathon. The Maui Rita I had the night before the marathon, and the delicious mai tai I had the night before the half marathon, didn't seem to hurt any, either (not to mention the huge steaks I ate each night, too), although I wouldn't necessarily recommend them to others.