If Mary Poppins ran a marathon …

This morning I am running one of my 20 mile runs in preparation for my marathon in June. The plan on Monday was to run the Murdock Canal in Utah County. Then the plan was to run in Herriman with a big group of my RA family on a nice gradual downhill course. Then yesterday the plan changed to running Emigration Canyon twice. The thought was to run 10 miles up the canyon and then back down. Now that plan might be void in favor of running down the canyon, driving back up and then running back down again.

These plans could change even now. Stay tuned.

But, being one of the 20 milers I have a tendency to “OVER” pack. I call the disaster preventer in me. Others call it packing like a girl. Either way, I want to make sure I stay fueled and hydrated properly. Really to the point that I pack things I never end up using. But, I still pack them just in case …

And by the time I am done with packing my backpack I pretty much end up with a Mary Poppin-esque bag. Let me demonstrate …

It’s a normal looking bag, right?

Gotta have my headlamp, right? Don’t want to get ran over in the dark of the night. I’ve heard that’s a pretty painful experience. Best to avoid.


Gotta also pack a couple packs of Augustus GUs. Seriously, the chocolate GUs taste like chocolate frosting. Thank you GU for this gift all mankind/running world.


Then I found this guy floating around my running gear. I thought he needed a home, even if I have no intentions of using him. Again, you never know … ?!?


A long run wouldn’t be a long run for me without my Spiced Speckled Jelly Beans. I always have these on my person for any run over 8-10 miles. My love for these jelly beans deserve devoted love poetry written to them.


Gummy Bears are an essential running food. They’re tasty, quick energy and easy to share with friends. But, in case you are running with enemies make sure to share a bag of sugar-free gummy bears with them. It will be worth it. Trust me.


Also, make sure to pack, not one, but two bananas in your Mary Poppins running bag. They’re cheap and easy … to digest and a great energy boost midrun. Just be careful not to get them bruised. No one likes a bruised banana. No one.


Honestly I don’t know why I put a pita in my bag? Maybe I thought we’d run into a pond of hungry ducks or something? Either way … you never know.


Also include a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in your bag. 20 miles is a LONG way to run and you’ll get hungry for something more than GU, a pita shell, candy or bananas. The peanut butter will fill you up and the jelly a good sugar boost.


And, in case you don’t want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich you can always make a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Being prepared is all about choices, right?


You also can’t forget about water. That’s like the most important thing, right?


So much so you really should have more than just one water bottle in the bag. 


And, since liquid is so important also make sure to grab Gatorade fuel you find on the discount shelf at Kmart (because that’s a good idea).


And, then if you don’t like just drinking water or questionable Gatorade fuel you can always opt for flavored water. You know, for options …


Well, that’s a look into my Mary Poppins running backpack. We’ll see how the run goes and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of pictures to share later today or tomorrow. But, marathon training is a beast and I still feel very much like a rookie when it comes to preparing to run 26.2 miles. Marathons are no half marathons.

But, I am excited to run the 20 miles. It will be a great mental challenge more than anything.




  1. Clark says:

    Holy frijoles! That’s a lot of stuff. I’m a bit on the other side of the pendulum. I did 14+ today, and I took nothing. (To eat at least. I did take clothes.) Thus far I’ve been able to avoid even taking water, though we’ll see how that lasts in the summer. More than distance, it’s the time that matters, but I’ve found that as long as temperatures are reasonable, I’m good for at least 90 minutes without anything, and wouldn’t start thinking of bringing food along until at least the 3 hour mark, I think. (I haven’t done a 3 hour run in about 4 years though, so it hasn’t come up recently.)

  2. Ellen says:

    How about this for your long runs, you map your route so that you can do a loop or strategically place vehicles stocked with goodies so that you can simulate your race course. Pack some hydration and gu but everything else can be picked up at one of your aid stations.

  3. Joshua says:

    That’s a great idea. My first 20 miler I just ended up doing four five mile loops around my house. That helped but was boring. I think with a little better planning I would have hidden goodies and GUs out on the course.

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