What is an EPIC adventure? For some, this may be completing a 5k, 10k, or half marathon. For others, it may be completing that first 50-miler, or 100-mile bike ride. While we at EPIC applaud the brave souls who push their bodies to its limits, our adventure as a company means appreciating not only crossing the finish line, but acknowledging the journey. Our company is built upon a foundation of superior products, the finest employees, and our valued business partners. Beyond that we recognize that this experience is an adventure, and this adventure is something to be experienced. Through The EPIC Blog, we tilt the lens of our company’s view in order to examine this journey from many different perspectives. This being the first blog of this series, it seemed only fitting to start things off by taking a look at how EPIC plays a part in the life and livelihood of the first EPIC sponsored athlete, Erik Stanley.
Erik is not only the first EPIC sponsored athlete (and the ripped bod you’ll see on the home page of the EPIC website) but he is also the founder and head coach of the running community Trail Roots. This running community was developed by Erik to provide focused and customized training for all levels of runners in Austin in a guided and safe environment.
While Erik was visiting the EPIC Headquarters one day he invited me to the Tuesday run-workout, which he himself coaches. I couldn’t resist accepting the offer. Seriously, how many people can say they were offered a training session from a University of Texas All-American?
About two weeks later, I set out to meet up with him and the Trail Roots group at the new Jack and Adam’s location for the Tuesday afternoon workout. The clouds that day covered the sky, and gathered over the city of Austin with the threat of a downpour. As I approached our meeting point, I got a sense of what Taylor and Katie may have experienced that day a few years back when they were camping in West Texas as a storm was rolling in, and the origins of our company began.
I was instantly greeted by Erik and numerous smiles from the Trail Roots running group. Coach Erik laid out the game plan for the day’s workout, which consisted of:
- 1 mile run to the place where we would…..um….. do more running
- 1 mile interval runs with three minute breaks between each mile
- 1 mile run back to Jack and Adam’s
- Core workout
We set out on our mile run to Zilker Park. Once there, Erik lined us up and ran us through some drills to prep our minds and bodies for the interval runs. With the cloud cover overhead we very well may have been egging the rain on with our collaborative movements. Once drills were done, we were instructed that the mile quantity depended on our own fitness level. This was quite the relief for someone like myself who tends to put more miles on an indoor treadmill than the up and down slopes of the outdoor terrain.
Erik provided guidance and encouragement throughout our entire workout. “Relax your shoulders”, he would say. When I asked about his tips on technique he added, “Sometimes when people get tired they hunch up their shoulders and I have to remind them to relax.” He applauded everyone’s efforts after each mile encouraging us on to the next one.
The smell of the imminent rain filled the air. I appreciated the solemnness of each mile. My body and the terrain were the only things I had to focus on, and this brought a comforting clarity to my run. This was running. Running indoors can make it hard to concentrate on the workout itself when TV monitors flicker in front of you and people with their own workout agenda pass by. That was not the case here with the Trail Roots group. We all rallied and pushed together to accomplish the day’s goals. This feeling of unity with the group, as well as the unity to the Earth was the EPIC experience I had hoped for when I accepted Erik’s offer.
We arrived back to Jack and Adams just before the rain. We completed 15 minutes of core and the best part of my day was about to happen. Not only did my core, my legs, and my entire self feel rejuvenated, but my pride of working for a great company such as EPIC was about to get a boost.
I pulled out the stash of EPIC bars I had brought for the Trail Roots members and the group dove into the box with excitement and joy. Everyone that took a bar exclaimed how they used the bars in their daily lives as either pre-workout fuel, post-workout recovery, or as their go-to snack for the day. Listening to everyone explain how EPIC was a part of their daily lives was incredible. I suddenly realized that with each day Team EPIC works towards creating, promoting, and delivering on our company’s promise, that this is the result we seldom see, but one that is ever present in the lives of our consumers.
Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest took those first brave steps in the direction of creating a whole food meat-based protein bar. Through their efforts, and the efforts of those they have elected to stand by them, the adventure of EPIC takes place every day. For me personally, the adventure began the first time I sent samples of this aesthetically pleasing package out from Taylor and Katie’s own home. Although I had a good feeling about this new adventure, I could have never imagined that I would be a part of something that would not only redefine the protein bar category, but something so unique that it would create a category of its own. A special thanks going out to Erik Stanley and his tribe of outstanding athletes for including me in an amazing workout, which allowed me to see EPIC in action!
For more information please visit: http://www.trailroots.com/about-trail-roots.html