HeOw, great race report. Really gutsy run. Well done on getting to the finishing time so close to your goal time despite all the problems.
I too was handed a cup of water on a tray around mile 18. Luckily for me I find it impossible to drink from a cup when running and ended up with most of it down my vest! I only had a sip of it so sounds like I had a lucky escape. Ironically I cramped up badly at mile 19 so I probably could have done with the salt - but I don't think salt water is the best way to top up! I think at the very least the person handing it out should have mentioned that there was salt in it. I have just bought some salt sticks caps and I am going to try them on my next long run.
I also find a running diary really useful. Especially when I get ill or injured and I can look back and try and learn from previous ailments and see if any patterns of over use or over training emerge. I also think that using a site like Garmin Connect or Strava is invaluable so that you can analyse the progress you are (hopefully) making and it can re-assure you that things are going in the right direction.
lit - I don't know how anyone can run that fast - especially age 42! You seem to be doing amazingly well too. I was amazed at the Manchester marathon watching the leaders run past me as the course doubled back. They looked like they were running as fast as I run on a VO2 max run - without the puffing and panting! Some of them looked a lot older than me too. Quite inspirational and makes you really believe that more is possible.
15W - I need to get quicker. You are younger than me and a lot faster! Good point about the extra daylight - it has been really tough training through the winter, I ran most of my runs after work in the dark with a head torch on in sh*tty weather. Can't wait for some sun.