Thankfully, when I got inside, I realized that my fears were unfounded. Yes, the gym was crowded, but due largely to a spin class, an old-people-water-aerobics class, a zumba/aerobics class and lots and lots of people on the treadmills. The weight machines and free weights, while a tad more occupied than normal, were largely untouched. It turns out all the gym joiners weren't really interested in the traditional gym elements, just more modern flashy ones. Perhaps the gym won't be so bad in winter after all.
Of course, this is what I've never understood about using the gym solely for the treadmills...the outside works just as well. In fact, it might just work out a little bit better. The weight machines, the pool, even the spin classes and exercise bikes are all experiences you can't find in the real world, at least not without substantial cost or investment. Running and walking however...are free and available to everyone. (Seniors and the injured are of course the exception). Regardless, millions across the country have now joined a gym for the sole purpose of...walking and running inside. The side dish has become the main course for the gym owners.
The good news? January/February always go quickly. By March things should be back to normal and my semi-weekly trips to the gym will be empty again. As for running, there's no need to wait. The roads are wide open for running all year long.