At the core

Gyms suck.

Sorry to be categorical, but there it is. To be inside in the smelly, thick air when you can play in the sun (or rain or snow) – it makes little sense to me. Besides, gyms represent limitations. I tend to go to them when I can’t run and I can’t run when I’m injured. Bad times.

As it happens, I’m taking it easy on my Achilles tendon, not running at all for a few weeks. Thankfully the tender spot is not torn or anything; just some bad inflammation and pain. The ever helpful Scott Duke is helping me a great deal. And since I can move and bike, I have no choice but to hit the gym. I do so reluctantly, with unhappy feelings akin to the irritation I felt during my daily bike ride to school as an angry 11-year old in a despised regenpak – a colorful rain suit making you sweat and soaking wet just the same, but from the inside.

blogStaying on the Upper East Side of Manhattan I re-discovered the gym at the Y there. It’s a trip. The old neighborhood guys hang out and joke around near the free weights and the steam rooms The old ladies float around in the excellent pool. Kids of all colors jump around and fill the place with laughter. Intense games on the full-sized basketball court, loud dance classes, trainers kindly checking in on everyone; if you have to be in a gym, this is the one. Plus, about half the monthly fee of Equinox.

The New York Post helpfully noted last week that working on your core is the latest trend among the good-looking set in New York. “Strong is the new skinny,” they report. The paper is somewhat late. A strong back and stomach, powerful shoulders and arms have always been the key to good health, strong running, and looking fine. Runners World explains it on a monthly basis; this piece from 2009 is good. Still, it was nice to see the Post emphasize it, since I work at my core more than ever, unable to run…

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