CRAMP. Ahh-ahhhh. Not the saviour of the universe.
The weather was shite - which was actually what I was looking for because I trust my powers of navigation while doubting that of others. With visibility low (less than 100m on the high ground) I figured there'll be a few of those runners ahead of me making some school boy errors - and there were.
I took it out steady and really held myself back. I felt pretty good. I got through the first four check points in good shape. Dropped a few places and gained a few - I think the net of those exchanges were in my favour.
Then it was along the top ridge to Corn-Du and Pen-y-Fan. I continued steadily because by the time you hit Pen-y-Fan your only about half way and there are still a couple of meaty climbs left. Down off Pen-y-Fan and up Cribyn with no major issues and a couple more gained places but then disaster struck....
As I started down off Cribyn major cramp struck. First on my left calf which I managed to stave off a major spasm and then a couple of minutes later on my right calf - which I didn't. I was down on the ground for about four minutes trying to get the muscle out of spasm - and lost two places as I was sat there on my arse. It was agony but all I could think about was that with around eight miles still to go, finishing was going to be a challenge. I had the option of cutting it short at the bottom of Cribyn but that would mean losing my 'never not finished a race I've started' mantle - and I wasn't prepared to do that.
Eventually the muscle got back into its normal location, I got up and continued down at a snails pace, sort of waddling to stave off further cramp. It worked and by the bottom I was feeling a bit more optimistic of finishing and pushed on up the final climb - ooh, how exciting - perhaps not.
The run in to the finish was less eventful and although I continued to get the odd twinge and never pushed it too hard. I caught one final runner in the last kilometre before crossing the line in a respectable 3 hours and 37 minutes for the 20 mile course with close to 5,000 feet of ascent. I was 13th, which incidently, is my finishing position in the Sugar Loaf race last week, so I have now nominated 13 my lucky number. My time is over 40 minutes than my official race PB and 20 quicker than the recce but without the 'C' word I reckon I'd be inside 3:30. Gonna have to get the cramping sorted -it's put paid to me running tomorrow in the campus to campus race so I shall rest up and watch some telly - so it's not all bad :)
And here's the route;