MESA – There is an old saying about “best laid plans.” In the case of Allyson Arellano’s farewell performance in an Aftershock Distance Club uniform at the USATF Jr. Olympics at Mesa Community College Saturday and Sunday, the plan was for the Cottonwood runner to set a blistering pace en route to a sub 10-minute performance for 3,000 meters.
Instead, “the weekend didn’t go anything like we planned. Allyson was struggling terribly with allergies and breathing all weekend,” said Aftershock Coach Micah Swenson.
For Arellano, she still found ways to win all three races in which she competed (1500 and 3000 meters on Saturday and 800 meters on Sunday). Her times, however, were well off her best form: 2:26 for 800, 5:09 for 1500 and 11:18 for 3000 meters.
“We’re not sure if they had sprayed something on campus or if it was just an air quality issue but Allyson was already having labored breathing after the opening 400 meters where she was attempting to run the 1500 meter at her goal pace for Sunday’s 3000 meter,” said Swenson. “We had to make some adjustments on the fly and she was able to hold on for the win in the 1500 meter with a final kick with 50 meters to go.”
As the weekend progressed, the allergy issue persisted and was clearly evident in Arellano’s performances.
“While it wasn’t what we were hoping for from a time perspective, it was a testament to her resolve,” said Swenson. “She knew she was nowhere close to 100 percent and there was no chance of her running a fast time but she still was determined to race.”
Another Aftershock Club athlete, Trenton Stafford, also medaled in the 3000 meters with a second-place finish (9:53.41) on Sunday, his highest finish in any USATF Arizona championship meet. He was positioned in third and used a strong kick over the final 60 meters to slide up into second.
Stafford’s 3000 meter and all of Arellano’s performances earned them spots at the regional championships in early July, “but we are shutting it down now so we aren’t compromising their upcoming cross country seasons,” said Swenson.
The coach said Arellano will take a couple of weeks off now before building up toward 70-mile weeks for cross country this fall at Queens University of Charlotte.
Stafford and Josh Reilly, another Aftershock runner, will now start training and racing with the Run Flagstaff club.
Swenson said Sunday’s performance by Arellano was the final performance ever for Aftershock as he is shutting the club down.
“It was a special thing that Allyson was our last athlete to take the track as she has been a part of the club since its creation during the spring of her 5th grade year,” said Swenson. “She was actually one of our first athletes to step on to a track in an Aftershock uniform for the 1500 meter at the USATF Arizona State Championships back on May 29, 2010 … She’s been the best I’ve ever coached in any sport.”