Chilly morning rides

September 2, 2011 at 7:59 am (Personal)

My commute to work is getting chilly, today was my first day wearing full finger gloves. And think I’ll start covering my ears soon.

The sun only hits me in the last mile of my 5 mile bike ride to work.


I’ve thought for the longest time that my commute was 6 miles but I measured it last week and it’s really 5.2 miles.

I’m happy to say that I rode to work 4 to 5 times a week throughout the entire summer. The days that I didn’t ride to work were days that I wanted to use my old Mazda a little, just to make sure it didn’t break since I’ll be using it during my winter commutes.

I’ll continue riding to work until it gets uncomfortably cold. I have at least one month more of riding.

And to end this post with some cuteness, here’s a picture of Anika grocery shopping that I found on my phone while getting the picture above.


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Anika is now 4 months old!

September 1, 2011 at 11:22 am (Personal)

Anika is now 4 months old! I’ve been slow at posting so she has actually been 4 months old for almost two weeks now. And along with the 4 month mark comes a visit to the doctor. One cool thing the doctor said was that Anika’s length was in the 90th percentile of US babies. I’m definitely taller than the average Guatemalan but I sort of blend in here in the US. And Carol is not tall so I was expecting something around the 60th percentile. I think it’s cool that she’s looking tall right now, we’ll see how it goes later in life.

The doc also said she is in the 80th percentile weight-wise, but to not worry because most of the weight is because she is a tall baby. I can’t remember how tall or heavy she is right now, Carol’s the one that takes Anika to the doc. (Carol, if you remember, please post this on a comment?)

It was also time for another round of vaccines. She cried less than last time but she got a fever the next day. We gave her acetaminophen and that kept her feeling alright until her body adjusted to the newly introduced viruses.

I recently uploaded two videos of Anika:


To see more videos, just visit .

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Daybreak Triathlon 2011

June 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm (Personal)

This was my second year doing the Daybreak Triathlon. A triathlon that happens a couple of blocks from my house.

Last year was cold and I had an injured knee. This year the lake temperature and air temperature were perfect! And my knee did not bother me at all. Well, at the very end I felt like there could have been some pain if I kept going. But I was close to the Finish line so no big deal.

My overall time was 2 hours 47 minutes. Last year was 3 hours 2 minutes, but the swim was significantly shorter. For detailed times, heart rate, and other data, click here.

I like doing triathlons, specially when the weather is great and I’m not in any pains. This was definitely a fun one for me.





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Rita came to visit!

May 31, 2011 at 11:13 am (Personal)

Rita (my older sister) had been wanting to visit us for a while, and now that Anika is here she decided to make it happen. With three kids under her belt, she had lots of good advice for us and helped us with the baby. 


Anika had her worst tummy ache to date when Rita was around. I had to work the next day so Carol didn’t wake me up. Anika cried for hours until Carol went to the drug store at about 3am to get some colic drops. Carol’s mom was also with us so I’m not sure if Rita stayed with the baby or went to the drug store with Carol, but either way she helped out and Carol and I are grateful.

Besides doing baby stuff, we took Rita to nearby places in SLC. The day after she arrived, we went downtown and took her to Ensign Peak:


After Ensign Peak we wanted to go to Temple square, but we were hungry so we stopped at Squatters brewery. This was the first restaurant Anika has ever been to. She was really calm and loved the beer… Ok, we didn’t give her any beer; but she did look drunk after finishing 4oz of milk while she was there. She actually looks that way most of the times she drinks a lot of milk.


Here are some pics of Temple Square:


The next day, Carol’s mom and sister came from California. They both live in Guatemala but came to the US to visit Anika and some family in California.

Rita had never seen snow so we drove to the mountains one day to check it out:



And the last cool place we went was Antelope Island. I had forgotten how beautiful and odd that place is. I want to come back for some hiking, running, road biking, and/or mountain biking. I just need to remember to check if it is mosquito season because they were eating us like piranhas while we were there.

Antelope island looks “odd” because besides being an island, it has very few trees and the plant combination is different than what you see throughout Salt Lake City. It also has bison, which ordinary people like me just see them as buffalo and have no idea why they are different.


I had tons of fun with Rita here. I’m very happy she came.

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First MTB ride of the year!

May 17, 2011 at 10:12 am (Personal)

This year’s MTB season began yesterday for me with a 1 hour 45 minute ride on the Corner Canyon trails.

Since I’ve been road biking a bit (commuting plus some rides). I felt ready to start where we left off last year. So I downhilled all the fun trails of corner canyon: Jacob’s ladder, ghost falls, and the new coyote hollow one (that’s how it is called right?). It was 11.3 miles of fun:


The trails were in perfect condition. I did the jump at the end of Jacob’s ladder, the one we just barely manned up to do at the end of last year. It felt, again, not as hard core as it looks. It had a deep, big, puddle of water that you have to clear, which is cool. Ghost falls was cool as usual. And Coyote Hollow was better than ever, it felt like an entirely settled trail.

I didn’t plan this ride in advance so I just went alone. I enjoy the occasional solo ride though. I’m looking forward to more MTB action this year!

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Anika Sofie Liska is the cutest baby I’ve laid my eyes on

April 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm (Personal)

I’m totally biased, but I really think baby Anika is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen. Carol and I are absolutely in love with her and are enjoying every minute of her presence. I like her when she’s happy and calm, and when she poops and cries. I’m completely dazed when she practices her smile.

I’ll start you guys off with some pictures of Anika and then get down to the details of the tough labor Carol and Anika went through.



Cute pictures right? Anika was born on Thursday April 21st at 8:30am, but Carol’s water broke at 12:30pm the day before. Here’s the timeline and story:

Wednesday 20th 12:30pm. Carol’s water breaks. There is some significant leakage but she is not feeling any labor pains. She googled and it seemed it it was really that the water broke.

1:20pm. Carol calls me at work to give me the news. I freak out and tell her I’m on my way. She tells me there is no rush but I really don’t believe her. I hang up the phone and realize I was supposed to go get gas right after work. I’m really good at having gas in the car you know how things are some times; the day you really need it is the day it is not there.

1:25pm.  I’m on the car and I call Carol to see how she’s feeling, she tells me she really has no contractions so we agree it is ok to get gas.

1:55pm. Carol is trying to get a hold of the doctor and wants to take a shower before going to the hospital. After the shower, we finally get a hold of the doc he says that even though there are no pains, we need to go to the hospital. Carol is almost done with her hair =)


3pm. We arrive at the hospital. Still no pains so we check in without any rush. At that point we’re wondering if the water really broke or what.

3:30pm. We’re in a nice, private hospital room. We thought it was just a fancy place to see if the water really broke but we quickly realized that the bed was one of those ready for holding your feet when in labor. We also notice directional lights in the ceiling so we were sure this was a “birth giving” room.


3:50pm. They take a sample of the dripping water and send it to the lab. The lab confirms it is amniotic fluid. Still no labor pains.

4:30pm. They begin inducing Carol into labor through an IV with Oxitocin (Pitocin). They explain that after the water breaks they like the baby to come out within the next 24 hours to minimize the risk of infection; because the amniotic sac is no longer protecting the baby.

10pm. The Oxitocin worked slowly but by this time the contractions were getting really painful so we decided it was time to get the epidural. The epidural has a slow drip of the thing that makes you numb. But your body recovers quicker from the drip than what the drip can make you numb. When you really want to not feel pain you need to push a button that increases the drip and you get significantly numb in about a half hour, the numbness then lasts a while.

Thursday April 21st 3:40am. Carol was able to sleep on and off for short periods of time throughout the night, and we only pushed the epidural button once or twice. At 3:40, the nurse came into try to give the first real pushes but nothing really happened. The nurse suspected the epidural numbness was not letting Carol push properly, so she was going to be back in a while when the numbness was wearing out a bit.

4am. The epidural wore off a bit and carol was able to push, this time the pushes were doing something but the nurse decided we were not ready for delivery.

6am. The nurse comes in for another round of pushes. Since we were not sure if the epidural was the issue at 4am, we did push the button between 4 and 6am. At 6am, the epidural was numbing Carol and she had problems pushing again.

6:30am. The nurse comes back, the epidural effect was off. The pushes are significantly better. We’re now sure the epidural messes things up so we decide to not push the button any more. This is bad news for Carol because we had only pushed it when she was really losing it. Next time she’s in pain, there will be no relief.

8am. The doctor comes in for the first time and says it is time to deliver this baby no matter what. I remember thinking to myself there was no way that baby could come out right now, I mean, we could see Anika’s head but it was really not poking out, not even a little.

After a lot of pushes, the doc decides to do an episiotomy. Yeah, that made Anika’s head come out quite a bit. But just like 1/4.

After more pushes, the doc decides he needs to use the suction cup to pull Anika’s head out. On the first try, the cup did not get a good grip and didn’t do much at all. But the doc was just warming up.

The second try was a good one but the doc didn’t put a lot of pull to it.

Then came the third one. This was a very decent pull. I thought the doc had given it all on that one but it failed. I got really worried, what if the baby didn’t come out? What if the suction cup messes up the baby’s brain?

I thought about telling the doc to think things twice but then I thought I really have no idea what I was talking about, maybe this was normal and the dangerous pull limits were still far from being reached.

Then came the fourth suction cup pull. Even harder than the third. This one did it, it pulled half of the head. The doc stopped there for a while, took off the cup, thought for a while. I’m not sure if he then pulled the head with his hands or if he used the suction cup. But a minute later, the head was all out.

The doc maneuvered just a bit and in less than a minute, the entire body was out. I could not believe it!

8:29am. Next thing I know the doc is holding the cord for me and asks me if I want to cut it. I’m like “ohh yeah,, ok”. I remember thinking if stopping for me to cut the cord was needed. I was worried for carol and her episiotomy. I just wanted her to get stitched up. But I just went with the flow again, talking about it would only stop the process more. And I wanted to cut the cord; I just remember thinking that I hoped us stopping for this would not affect Carol or Anika a tiny bit.

Having seen how sharp those scissors were. I wanted to make sure I didn’t cut the doc’s fingers, they were pretty close to where I had to make the cut. So I opened the scissors just enough to get all the cord, I failed by a tiny bit, like 1milimeter. I finished it off with a second tiny cut.

The baby was being held by the baby doctors and as soon as the cut was made, Anika was swiftly taken to the other side of the room where they had her tiny bed. I then remember Carol telling me to not take my eyes off our baby as soon as it came out, so I went with Anika.

They swiftly dried her with a cloth, unclogged her nose and mouth. She was crying really loud, not sure when she started. They then put her on the scale to weight her. 7lbs 6.8oz. Then they wrapped her in a blanket and gave her to me. As soon as I talked to her she calmed down, no more tears! I like to think she immediately recognized my voice, but maybe she recognized the first comforting touch. All the other docs were just worried about checking her vitals and such. I just wanted to hold her and tell her it was going to be all right.


I then took her close to Carol. Carol was crying, from happiness and relief. I’m not sure when she started crying, it started with tears of pain? I’ve got to ask her. I was close to crying too, I could feel the knot in my throat.

Once they were done with Carol, I gave her Anika and she held her for a couple of minutes. Then the nurses took Anika to get a more thorough check and a bath.

They noticed she had really low blood sugar and poor oxygen levels in her blood. They were worried. I was really worried. They called for the baby doctor. While we waited for him, they fed Anika some formula.

The doc said some blood test were needed and that sadly, an IV had to be placed in the back of her tiny hand. She definitely did not like that:


They bathed Anika and we waited a while for her next blood sugar and oxygen level check.

12pm. The blood sugar and oxygen levels were at an acceptable amount so we were free to go to our room. They had changed carol to another room, when I got there all our stuff was already there, not sure how. Carol’s mom was probably the one doing the hauling, she was there next to us for everything. They had ordered breakfast for me, I was starving.


The doc gave the nurses instructions to keep Carol and the baby there until Saturday and that the blood sugar had to be closely monitored on Anika.

In order to get Anika’s blood sugar to better levels, she had to be fed immediately. But she was not hungry at all! I remember I was shaking her a bit to get her to wake up and nothing. I then gave her to carol and she tickled her feet a bit, that woke her up! She took less than one ounce of formula and some colostrum from Carol, not sure how much since you can’t really measure that.

About an hour later, they tested the blood sugar and she was in normal range; we were relieved. The nurse recommended us to keep trying to feed her whenever she was awake.

Saturday April 23rd. Anika arrived home! The only strange instructions we had was to place Anika under the sun when possible because she was a little Jaundiced.


Monday April 24th. We went to the pediatrician and he said the Jaundiced issue is progressively getting better and that we should still put her under the sun if there is any, but that there’s nothing to worry about.

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Finished the Salt Lake City Marathon!

April 17, 2011 at 8:17 pm (Personal)

The official time was 4 hours and 13 minutes! I’m happy about it but you probably know my goal was to do it in less than 4 hours…

I think the main reason I didn’t complete my goal was that I started too fast. For the first 7 miles I was doing like 8 minute miles. My goal pace was like 8:45 minute miles. I guess I learned my lesson.

Click here for pace, heart rate, and elevation charts.

Another thing that affected me was the weird pain I was experiencing on my knee throughout my training. I think my pain this year was runners knee, based on what I’ve read online. Because of this I did not complete the toughest week of my training and did not run much for the 3 weeks after that and then it was time for the marathon.

Another thing that could have affected me was that I took more ibuprofen than ever. I took the usuall 400mg an hour before the race and I was feeling a tiny bit of pain on my knee at mile 7 so I took another 400mg just in case. I read online that ibuprofen can hinder muscle recovery, not sure how much this aided in the cramps I experienced.

As you can see on the pace chart (the blue chart), I was doing really good for half of the marathon. At mile 14 I started feeling a cramp was going to come so I lowered my pace to 9 minute miles. And then at mile 17 my right hamstring cramped, it was a serious cramp, those really painful ones. I walked for a couple of minutes and it went away.

At that point I realized I was screwed but I did the math and realized that if I stayed at a 10 or 10:30 minute mile pace I would still finish in 4 hours. So I ran at a 10 min mile pace and at mile 18.5 the same hamstring paid me another painful visit. I walked for a while until it was gone.

I knew this 10 minute mile thing was not going to work so I did 10:30 minute miles, that took me all the way to mile 21 where my right calf cramped big time.

At that point I realized a 4 hour marathon was not possible. I was just going to do the “run walk” which is how my friends and I call running as slow as possible but it is still considered running. It’s like a 12 min mile pace, maybe 13.

Well, as you can see on the blue pace chart, after the three first cramps I had 7 more which I just walked through and then did the run walk. I had several cramps in both my calves and hamstrings. And my right quadricep. I’m proud of my left quad, it’s the only one that did not fail me!

I saw people stop when they cramped and I cheered them to keep going and told them I was also in pain and that we were really close to the finish line.

One of the people I cheered was a girl that looked like she was 15. She and her dad found me at the finish line and thanked me for the cheer, she said it meant a lot to her. I guess she was really thinking of bailing out. It was at about mile 22 where I saw her stretching her hamstring on a fire hydrate.

The marathon was fun. The weather was perfect and it went through streets with old, tall trees. I even enjoyed the painful parts, it helps me know my limits.

Here’s a video of me crossing the finish line. I’m giving it all and fighting some cramps. If you look at the end of it you’ll notice I was totally cramping out when I crossed the finish line. I think it was my left calf and right hamstring that were saying hello there.

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Home improvements of this weekend (hung first frames on walls)

April 10, 2011 at 10:50 pm (Personal)

We hung the first two frames on our walls! It was about time, we’ve been living in our new home for a year and a half now.

The first one we hung was my brother’s artwork he made specially for me and Carol. It matches our house beautifully:


Our dining room is now close to being done. We just need to hang some stuff on the wall to the right and Carol wants to change the lamp.

Carol found this great pattern that she wanted to frame for our Master bathroom. Since it is right next to the shower, things get really humid so we could not hang really nice artwork there. It’s wall vinyl, but it looks like cloth:


Our bathroom is finally finished! Well, now that I write this I realized we still need to make the “throne” (toilet) room nicer. There’s nothing there besides the four walls and the throne. House work is never over…

I also assembled the last of the two chairs we ordered for our Studio. The first one arrived about a month ago and Carol assembled it and tried it out just to make sure it was a good purchase:

And one more thing: I also did the first yard work of the year! Aerated the grass and applied fertilizer + weed killer. I hope it’s looking green soon!

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8 days to the marathon!

April 7, 2011 at 10:58 am (Personal)

I lowered my training mileage significantly 2 weeks ago after my knee started having a new and consistent pain when hitting higher mileage.

2 weeks ago I was certain my goal of a 4 hour marathon was going to be achievable. I’m not so sure about this now. Achieving this goal will be hard. I’m already preparing myself for the the worst but at the same time trying to stay positive and think that maybe there will be no pain at all and the marathon will be a piece of cake… that I’ll be able to go through al 26.2 miles feeling happy, being patient, and above all, under a 9 minute mile pace at all times (not counting steep hills).

On saturday I ran 13 miles, I took 400mg of Ibuprofen 1 hour before the run and my knee did not bother me at all when running. But the next day my knee was in pain and I felt like my healing process was hindered when I went up and down stairs; it would hurt.

I ran 8 miles yesterday (wednesday) with no Ibuprofen and my knee did not bother much when running. It’s feeling a bit sore today but I can climb stairs without feeling I’m injuring the healing process; pretty much no pain.

So on marathon day I will take again 400mg of Ibuprofen and I will make sure my knee is healed up before the race. This means this coming week I won’t train much. I might run 6 miles total. With 4 being monday or tuesday.

I look at my heart rate a lot when I run and use these 3 levels as guides assuming I’m running about 10 miles.

150-155 beats per minute: I feel like the run is a walk in the park. I don’t even pay attention to my breathing. Pace is around 9 minutes per mile.

155-160: I’m getting a good workout. My breathing is fast but I could still miss a couple of breaths and would be fine. I usually fall into an in in oooout, in in ooout breathing mode. Pace is around 8:30 minute miles.

160-165: I’m going hard. Every breath counts. I’m in iiin ooout, iiiin ooout mode. But I can still finish my workout ok (assuming it is about 10 miles). Pace is around 8 minute miles.

So this is my marathon plan: The race starts at 7am. So I’ll take 400mg of ibuprofen at 6am with a 350 calorie ensure. I’ll have another 350 calorie ensure when I wake up. Running a marathon takes like 2600 calories from you. There is no way in hell I can carry or eat enough when running to make up for that but I’ll carry some Gu’s (I’m thinking 4 or 5; 100 calories each) with me and make sure I eat bananas at the aid stations.

For hydration, I typically do one cup of gatorade and one cup of water. There are 16 aid stations on this marathon so I might not do this on all of them; but I will on most.

Heart rate wise I’ll keep it in the 153-158 range for the first 18 miles. Depending on how I feel I might adjust there.

I’ll carry another 400mg of Ibuprofen with me just in case. But if I need these it means I’m seriously hurting my knee so I might decide to give up on my goal of a 4 hour marathon.

So those are only a few things we marathoners worry about (and plan for) but I don’t want to bore you with all of them. Figuring out when to poop is critical and you can’t fully control it, what to eat the days before, which of your shoes to wear, how will you be carrying your stuff during the run, etc….

Wish me luck!

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Yakima Rack on Nissan Rogue!

April 4, 2011 at 7:34 pm (Personal)

Now that fair weather is around the corner it was time to figure out how to get bikes on our Rogue.

I purchased the Nissan crossbars and Yakima Universal MightyMounts to fit my KingCobra racks. I just put one up for now but I bought enough MigtyMounts for another one.


I got the Nissan crossbars, as opposed to the longer Yakima ones, because I eyeballed you could fit 3 bike racks on it; even though the Yakima website said you could only fit 2. I’m happy to report that my estimate was correct. You might have to place the outmost MightyMounts on top of the chubbier piece of the crossbar (where you see the black “maximum roof load of 100lbs” sticker), but the MightyMounts are so versatile that it should not be a problem.


I was also happy that the standard lock system I already had worked on the new MightyMounts:


I have 3 KingCobras and the lock system only fits 2 of them (the ones I bought first, the newer one has a skinnier hole). After I had set up everything up I noticed I used the KingCobra where the lock system does not fit, go figure. But I’m not switching racks now!

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