Hi Katy - last years VLM was my first marathon. I was hoping for sub 3.30 but in the end clocked 3.46 because a) the congestion at the start and b) my first priority was to finish. My only advice would be not to get too hung up on a time target - just enjoy the whole experience.
MM - as you'll have gathered I was very (very) fortunate to get one of the club places so need to do the club proud! Mileage is increasing slowly but should have fitness back mid/end dec ready for marathon training programme.
The thought of your marathon should be enough to motivate you. I find it really satisfying when you come back from having battled the elements - great pyschological boast. Plus if you can train through the winter you shouldn't have any worries about the elements come your marathon.