DEKA Mile Recap: April 2022

Finding my stride at an event I'm falling more and more in love with

Dave Warfel pushing Torque tank at DEKA FIT Denver

FIT FOCR hosted DEKA MILE on April 23, 2022 at their OCR/functional fitness facility in Brighton, CO.

Event Recap

The best version of a quick recap can be found on my Instagram.

I’ve been to 3 events at FIT FOCR now – two of them for DEKA events – and all of them have been a blast.

  • Over 70 athletes threw down from 9am until about 3pm
  • Many volunteers were there the entire day helping out
  • Zach Vogel (Heroes Training Systems) put up the top time of 20:34, in dominating fashion
  • Stephanie Hillman‘s incredibly impressive 23:09 was good enough for 6th place overall, besting the 2nd place female and superfit mom, Bonnie Rouse, by almost a minute and a half. It’s the 12th fastest female time worldwide 😮. (They also finished 1-2 at DEKA STRONG back on Feb 12th)
  • I had the pleasure of racing beside Ray Macias, a FIT FOCR regular. He’s a fast dude and I had to hold back early on. My patience paid off and I tied Sam Osborne for 2nd overall.
  • Raw Fitness Denver not only brought 12 athletes up from Aurora, CO, but they brought THE FIRE 🔥. So much energy from this crew.
  • FIT FOCR’s food game for volunteers was on point. Egg scramble for breakfast, pulled pork for lunch, donuts for everything in-between, and Celsius for post-race energy & recovery.

FIT FOCR is hosting a few more DEKA events this year. It’s not too late to join the action. Follow them on Instagram for updates.

  • DEKA MILE, July 16, 2022
  • DEKA STRONG, October 15, 2022

My Takeaways

This is where I discuss my performance, reflect on the pros and cons, try to learn something for next time, and maybe provide you with something to consider for your next competition.

Trust the Training

On Wednesday of this week, just three days prior to this event, I ran a 10k time trial. The idea behind this run was to test out my wheels at the 10k distance. I have a 10k obstacle course race coming up in two weeks, on May 7th—CerusRush.

It was not my best effort. I cramped on two separate occasions, causing me to slow down and ultimately finish with a time that I wasn’t proud of. It didn’t feel like an accurate representation of my current fitness. My overall time didn’t reflect all the work I’ve been putting in over the past 3-4 months.

But you’ve gotta trust the training.

Not all trial runs will go as planned. Let’s be honest, almost nothing in life works out exactly as we planned, right?

It’s important to remember that it’s not just about the final time. Maybe I should refer to it as a “trial run” instead of a “time trial”—emphasis on trial instead of time. During a trial, you gather & examine data. Unlike a courtroom, no one is proven guilty and you certainly aren’t getting thrown in jail. Think of it as a test with no final grade but lots of teacher feedback. And surprise, you’re the teacher… and the student.

You’ve got to put in the work and actually grade the paper, but once you do, there are valuable takeaways.

For example, in that 10k trial run I…

  • pushed through two separate cramps, employing a strategy to help them subside, all while not stopping to walk
  • dealt with some fairly nasty wind 💨
  • picked up on breathing strategies that coincide with my foot strikes
  • realized I went out too fast, and it cost me on my overall time


Before I raced at 1:00pm, I stood on my feet for 4+ hours volunteering. I raced hard for 21 minutes, 30 seconds. Then I volunteered until 4:30pm, never sitting down once, eating 3 donuts and a huge pulled pork sandwich, and consuming 200mg of caffeine (I’m mostly plant-based and rarely have caffeine).

After a 25-minute drive home, I put some things away, and decided to head out on an easy recovery run to get some more time on my feet, and help recover from the hard effort of a shorter race.

Would an expert coach have recommended that? I’m not sure. My Whoop Strain Coach certainly didn’t think it was a good idea. But I felt great!

Physically, I should’ve been done for the day; especially after my sorry display of post-race nutrition. But I was still amped up from an awesome event. So… I went for an easy 8-mile run.

Judging by pace, heart rate, and the unstoppable feeling that flowed through my body for an hour, it was the best zone 2 run I’ve had to date.

  • 8 miles – 8:06/mi. – 139 avg HR

There’s no way to know for sure why I ran ~0:30/mi. faster than just a few days ago, but it had everything to do with my mind and little to do with my physical state. Fitness trackers can provide valuable insight. Coaches can write incredible training plans. But neither of them can read your mind, and when you’re feeling it, sometimes you’ve got to just go for it.

The mind is a powerful thing. Momentum is also a thing, and the energy from today’s event was still very much alive and flowing through my veins.

It’s no different than a basketball game when you’re on a 10-0 run and every shot that leaves your hand finds the bottom of the net. It’s momentum. When it arrives, don’t ignore it. Use it to your advantage.


I haven’t raced an obstacle course race in over a decade. The last OCR I attended was the World’s Toughest Mudder in 2011. With CerusRush coming up in two weeks, I’ve been contemplating my chances for a podium spot.

✅ I’ve been training hard for ~5 months
✅ I feel as fit as I’ve ever been
🤷‍♂️ But I haven’t run an obstacle race in over a decade!

Can I compete with the guys who have been racing for years? They’ve got 10, 20, some even 30+ races under their belt. They’ve probably tackled some of the exact obstacles multiple times. I’ve never even seen them before.

This is why it’s helpful to sign up for other races leading up to a big event.

Yes, you have to put in the work, and trust that your training has prepared you physically. But possessing the fitness to perform well in a race is only half the battle. The other half takes place in your head. You still have to execute on race day.

My performance this weekend gives me confidence that I can compete with some of the best athletes in the area. My fitness is in a good place. I executed my plan from start to finish. After a less-than-optimal 10k trial run earlier in the week, this was just the confidence booster I needed going into CerusRush.

Leave a Comment