The first thing I do in the morning is go for a run. I like to run on an empty stomach, before breakfast but right after my first cup or two of coffee. Even though mountain biking will forever be my favorite sport, running is the only place I have found where don't have to exist. It's only rhythm and pace and time.
Maybe that sounds scary or weird or something but when I run my brain goes into hibernation mode, or somehow drops out of reality. It's like time doesn't exist for a while. I don't have to tell my body how to do it and unlike cycling, I don't have to pay attention much. I've even perfected the art of nap running - When I'm really sleepy but still need to run I let my eyelids close and run for a while (Don't feel scared, I only do this on wide trails, never sidewalks or streets) and open them every so often just to check that I'm still heading in the right direction.
When I cycle I have to think about some really practical things like, "Don't crash into that tree. Carbon Fiber handlebars would be a gonner if you did that." or "This guy can't ride in a straight line. Who else is here that has a steady wheel I can hop on." Cycling is like playing a game of chess - it's all about the cocktail of terrain mixed with speed and ability.
Running, however, is just running. One foot in front of another slightly faster than I walk. It's ten minute mile after ten minute mile after ten minute mile. And when I'm in the ten minute mile zone, be it for 20 minutes or an hour and a half, I have space to daydream. I ignore all my phone calls. There's no emailing or texting or whatsapping. Its a place where no one expects anything of me so I am free to build whatever I want and construct anything that I wish would happen.
I always have a lot of projects going at once and there are always more on the horizon. I love so many things and want to do so many things. I tend to build a daydream, constructing the future and thinking about what I want it to look like in detail and then as I run I work backwards. Right before that moment comes another moment and I think about what that moment should look like, how I should figure it out and make it work, and then there's another moment before that one, and another and then suddenly we are thinking about the moments I get to have today and I know exactly what's on my itinerary for the day.
Then its home, shower, and work. The rest of the day goes on and flies by but because I ran in the morning there is a settled order, beat, and pace to my life. Running helps me because I know where I'm going for the long and short term.
Pants: Lululemon (these running tights are very old but you can find similar ones here.)
Shoes: Brooks Pureconnect 3 (who I'd recommend highly! Not only have I been training injury free in their shoes for the last half decade, their customer service is amazing. I had recently purchased a new pair of shoes to replace my old ones because they hit their milage. After about twenty five miles the left shoe started to have some issues which turned out to be construction issues. I emailed them and a day later a new pair of shoes was on it's way to my doorstep, free of charge.)