It's difficult to discern the line between dream sleep and stream of consciousness while running when I have stumbled out of bed mere minutes before hitting the street. Very little visual input distracts those rambling streams of words and images.
I totally reject the idea of running with ear buds and music, and I absolutely reserve the right to change my mind some day. Real life sounds in the dark have the added dimension of space, originating miles or metres away, volumes that change. Staccatos and shrill chirps, dull traffic noise, coffee shop drive thru voices garbled and monotonous. Shuffling animal feet sounds that register on the subconscious and make me react before I process or identify the sound. Clashing steel in the factories, idling trucks.
Review of dreams partially remembered, often doubtful memories at best. Anticipation of breakfast. Double check of to-do list pre-workday - garbage? feed the dog?
Random thoughts, sometimes about how many coats of paint I'll still have to put on the deck, sometimes rough assessments of long term and short term budgetary goals, thoughts directly related to speed and pace and the workings of the parts of my body involved in this run.
I think about the absolute and utter exasperation that many people cause me. I try to unlock the puzzle they present and get to the core of how they tick. Or I ponder the absolute competence of other people - worse, sometimes both in the same people - and again try to figure it out, find the trigger to their motivation or the image that projects their brilliance.
What I always do is feel as though I am a part of this morning world, a world without the distractions and tidiness of the clockwork world that I inevitably return to after ten kilometres.