Learning From the Newbs

The Author, After Completing Some January BK Miles

With January, comes new year’s resolutions. I applaud all humans who have chosen a fitness goal to tackle in 2024. True to the cliche, the gyms were full to the brim for the first week of January (as determined by the very unscientific method of my personal observations). I typically only use the gym to change and shower, since my preferred workout is a lunchtime run of the Central Park Drive loop (which incidentally had been my M.O. long before this article was published, and I can tell you that it is not as nearly as much of a power move as they try to make it seem).

My gym is a small hotel-style outfit in the basement of the office building where I work. Even though it is moderately over subscribed, the lunch crowd is handful of usual suspects that I see on a regular basis, who have relatively good gym etiquette and to who even say hi to me on occasion. Momentarily forgetting about the new year and all of the nonsense that comes with it, I was initially confused when I saw roughly triple the usual number of lunch time gym goers when I waltzed in on January 2. The locker room was packed with new faces who were clearly struggling to figure out how to use built-in combinations on the lockers, but too proud to ask anyone for assistance. Kudos, my healthy minded brethren; welcome.

I’m sad (for them, but selfishly happy for me) to report that none of the new faces were anywhere to be seen this week. Come on guys! Gave up after one week!?!?! Well, at least you gave it a shot. Next year, FTW!

Switching gears completely– There are a lot more runners out there, as of late. Like, tons more. Especially for this time of year in NYC. I have read the stats about people taking up running during COVID. Unlike the guys from freshman week at the gym, it seems like the COVID runner converts stuck with it! Running in the middle of NYC winter sucks a lot, especially for the first mile or so of every single run. It takes real commitment to be out there this time of year. I think it is awesome, partially because it makes me seem a little less psycho for being out there with them!

I don’t necessarily know if any of the runners that I see are actually newbs or not, but I don’t really care because whoever they are, they seem to understand the core values of the runner community even better than some so-called veteran runners do (a’hem). I say this because on several occasions in recent months when I cross paths with someone running toward me, especially if it is a particularly nasty day, I’ll get a nod or a small wave from the guy/girl coming the other way. Damn right! When did NYC turn me into such a jerk that I stopped waving to other runners?

The first couple of times I experienced the wave/nod, it caught me off guard. It was the type of thing where I would look over my shoulder to see if maybe they were waving to a friend who happened to be running directly behind me. It was something that I would marinate on for a bit afterward. Of course runners should wave and nod to each other! We share a bond built upon the love of logging miles, even on those days where the weather is so bad that only delivery guys and psychos are the only other souls to be found outdoors. Thank you to my fellow runners (newbs or not) who recently not only acknowledged my existence, but gestured a “hello” with the subtext of “we’re in this together.” Notwithstanding the fact that a wave or a nod by a stranger in NYC can typically serve only to stoke suspicion or confusion, it is totally appropriate to hail fellow runners in this fashion. I’m grateful to be reminded of this. Carry on.

Posted in News and tagged , , , , , .