No matter how infrequently I actually do it, there are few better ways to start a day than a run. It doesnt't have to be far or fast, just getting out into the wind and shaking out the kinks puts me in the right state of mind to face the day. I leave on my own terms, not dictated by morning emails or weekend drama.
My sister Lisa, a budding mindfulness guru, once advised that rather than waking up each morning and immediately reaching for email, write down three goals for the day. Take control, rather than allowing the wants and needs of others dictate your priorities.
One of the joys of running is complete control. You can speed up, slow down, mail it in or push yourself to the limit. There isn't anyone else making those decisions. You answer to no one but yourself and get all the blame, all the credit. There are of course coaches, race crew, volunteers and supportive spouses, but out on the course, up in the hills you are truly your own master. Will, fighting against pain, embracing the hurt and testing your mettle.
You find out what you're made of, how tough you really are. Or you can just skip the coffee and lace up.