81fW699ZTQL._SL1500_.jpgBefore I got pregnant last year I was kicking ass. Earlier in the year I ran a ten-mile "race" on my own and before we moved I was attending these intense 6 AM bootcamp and kickboxing classes that had me feeling strong and powerful. But then I got pregnant and we moved and it all went downhill from there. Last time I was pregnant I was all sorts of exercisey: I ran a 8K and several 5Ks and felt quite proud of myself. Not so much this time, though. I've been sick a ton this pregnancy which makes me feel like garbage and then between my hourlong commute and having a delightful but exhausting toddler at home, exercise just isn't what it once was to me last time. I have high hopes that I will spring back into action once this baby comes and I'll be as good as before, if not better (yes, I am high on PCP.)

However by necessity I haven't been able to give up exercise completely. Even if I wanted to (and I don't), all the time I spend in my car has been rough on my back and I've realized that I need to do a modicum of exercise to keep my core and back strong in order not to succumb to a type of sciatica that makes me want to run red lights and drive over curbs just to get out of the car. Since I belong a gym with a pool and enjoy the momentary feeling of weightlessness, I decided to add swimming back into my routine--the only problem, of course, is that swimming is BORING. At least with running you can watch TV or watch the scenery go by, or in an exercise class you can pass the time enjoying/hating the company of your classmates. But in a pool, it's just back and forth, back and forth. My dad has a system wherein he thinks about someone based on the lap number he's on. If he's on 15, he thinks about me, because I was born on April 15th. If he's on 23, he thinks about Michael Jordan. I've tried this, and it feels like something somebody would do in prison in order not to go insane.

So for Christmas, I asked my dad to get me a swimming iPod. I wasn't sure what the best one to purchase would be: maybe a regular iPod in a fancy waterproof case? Ultimately after looking around he decided to go with the Underwater Audio waterproofed iPod shuffle. It looked weird when I first looked at it. How exactly does it work? And is it weird to buy an Apple product from a third party? But according to what we read, it was a safer, better option than just trusting a regular vulnerable iPod to some sort of case.

Ultimately I don't know how Underwater Audio does its thing but I will say this iPod has totally changed the way I feel about swimming. I use it with these headphones and clip it to my swim cap and go. I originally loaded my iPod with soothing, swimmy type music but I've realized that swimming is a great opportunity for me to indulge in one of my guiltiest pelasures: celebrity autobiographies read by the author (right now I am re-listening to Bossypants: if you have any recommendations for other good listens, please let me know) The time goes by so much faster when I'm listening to something in the pool and I don't dread my swim time like I did before.

My biggest technical challenge has just been learning how an iPod shuffle works, because I haven't used one from this generation--if I mis-press a button, I end up skipping through the rest of a chapter, which is annoying, but that's more my issue than the iPod's. Sometimes if I push off against the wall too hard or turn my head a certain way the earbud shifts in my ear and I can't hear as well but that just takes a second to adjust.

So if you're like me, and always mean to swim for exercise more but can't get past the tedium of the pool, I definitely recommend one of these guys. I also, strangely, recommend, if possible, having the experience of being pregnant and swimming, if you have any sort of body hangups, because it just takes all your physical flaws and blows them up to 11 but then by that point you're like "Sorry world, I'm pregnant, if you can't deal with it, then don't freaking look at me," which is an attitude I hope to maintain after the baby is born as well.