While on the elliptical machine I can crank up my workout playlist, and disappear into a world where I am fast, strong and powerful. I can feel my breath, rising and falling, getting faster as it matches the rhythm of my stride. I can feel my heart in my chest, pumping blood though my veins. My muscles are working, arms in perfect sync with my legs as lean in, warmed up after mile one, I move into a faster pace.
I find my inner rhythm, breathe, close my eyes and I leave the gym. I am running in a tropical paradise. The blue-green ocean is to my right and I can feel the warmth of the humid air in my face. The gentle breeze is blowing through my hair, and rustles the palms fronds high above me. I smell and taste the hint of salt on my lips, mixed with my sweat. I am in my zone. My sneakers mimic the sound of a drum as they hit the hot sidewalk that leads around the harbor. Mile three, I push harder. Picking up speed, I see the beautiful boats, all sizes and colors anchored to their moorings, gently swaying up and down, cradled in the oceans arms.
I circle around, following the harbor trail path and then the sea opens up before me. I am on the beach now, breathing heavily and kicking up white grains with every step. My pace is slowing down as the sand sucks at my feet. I hear the waves crash onto the shore, as my heart slows to match the rhythm of my breath. My run is now an easy jog, muscles tired, my mind clear and focused, and I feel joyous, elated. I gaze up at the blue sky and see the seagulls soaring above me, effortlessly gliding on the wind. I let the sun settle on my face as my jog turns into a walk. I spread my arms above my head, stretching and reaching as if I could touch blue of the tropical sky. I stop, smile and take in a deep breath. I open my eyes.
I am back at the gym on the elliptical machine. With four miles behind me, I climb off. Drinking deeply from my water bottle and while wiping the sweat from my forehead, I know that tomorrow I will be back. And once again, I will board my plane to paradise.