Liza Howard. Ultrarunning Mom.

Ultrarunning Mom

Learning to be a Race Director and Mike Morton’s String Cheese

I’m not as sore as I am after running Rocky, but I’m definitely as tired right now.  And I am chock full of a week’s worth of stories for you.  I’ll start out with this one today, and finish the week off with the pimp pacer pictures at the bottom.

I spent Wednesday and Thursday learning to mark a course properly with Joe and Henry.  (And watching Henry try to convince Joe his golf bag carrier was actually a good way to transport wooden stakes.)

So on Friday afternoon when I ran into Mike Morton at the start/finish area, and he asked if the trail was marked, I was proud to say, “And  how!”

The rest of the conversation went something like this:

Mike: Great.  I think I’ll go out for a loop.

Me:  Um, the loops are 20 miles… Right?

Mike:  Yeah.

The man ran 20 miles the afternoon before his 100.  His 14:28 100.

He also mentioned he’s signed up for another 100 this weekend.  I can’t remember which one because my brain stopped working shortly after, “Yeah.”

But wait, there’s more!

Just before the race started on Saturday, Mike spotted me from the start line (where I was orbiting Joe like a small moon) and asked if I could hold onto something for him.  Sure thing.  He walked over and handed me… (wait for it) a package of string cheese.

And then the race started.  And I was unsure whether string cheese was part of his race nutrition, which he’d want on the second loop — or if it was post-race celebratory string cheese.  But I’d heard, “Can you hold onto this?” so I wasn’t going to put it in the trash.  And I figured I’d better have it ready at the end of his first loop — just in case.  I mean, maybe that’s why I’ve never broken the US record.  No string cheese.  So I took a picture of myself with the string cheese and reentered my Joe orbit.

20 miles in: No string cheese request from Mike.

And then it really started to warm up, — which was hard for the cheese.

I envisioned Mike coming into mile 40 hollering, “Where’s the string cheese?!?” and having to hand him a wilted mess.

“Yeah, I would have run 12:30 and broken the US record, but this girl let the string cheese melt.”

I shared my cheese dilemma with the aid station guys and they came up with this.

Long story short, apparently Mike does not rely on sting cheese to fuel his races.  (So put down your Frigo Cheese Heads order forms.)  There was no cheese request at mile 60.  And then I got distracted by this:

But more on that Friday.


  • niki

    you are killing me. i can’t stop laughing. do you still have the cheese?

    • Liza Howard

      The cheese is missing!

  • Mike Morton

    Awesome Liza! Where is my cheese? It is a huge part of my recovery…

    • Liza Howard

      I’m afraid it’s gone missing, Mike. I’ve got my people on it. ;) I promise to stick it in an envelope and send it to you if it turns up. I hope this does not jeopardize your racing year. Know that I will be asking you to give a short talk on the benefits of string cheese at the RWB trail running camp if you can come this year.

  • Steven Moore

    More cheese Gromit!

    • Liza Howard

      Just watched one of those with Asa last week.

  • James Everett Buzzell

    awesome teaser…waiting for more…

    • Liza Howard

      Looking forward to getting down to writing today. :)

  • J Reeves

    Now it makes sense… After my second loop of the 50 miler I was offered a cold, wet towel at Dogwood. There was some comment about “Mike’s cheese is in there.”

    • Liza Howard

      I’m glad I could inject a little nuttiness to the AS stop.

  • Richard Kyle Wilkie

    So that’s what happened to my chip collection bucket!

    • Liza Howard


  • Rob M

    I believe Dominic Grossman said it best when he tweeted: #mikemortonisabeast.

    • Liza Howard


  • Pommers

    That’s hilarious Liza – I’ve just started a LCHF diet (re Tim Noakes) so I’m looking for run nutrition which don’t include carbs, which is SOOOOO difficult. Love the solution to the melting as well.
    Look forward to the pacer pimp story – he looks like a cool dude on a mission.

    • Liza Howard

      The pacer pimp story will be up soon! I just read an interesting article about carbs and running that I’ll have to attach to that post too. It looks at the percentage of carbs in the Kenyans and Ethiopians diets (70+%). I need to reread Noakes’ thoughts on that.

  • princess fiona

    that is a fabulous story! You write so well I can your voice AND see you orbiting Joe. Great job as always.

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