A few of my friends and teammates, Sheri Piers and Kristin Barry, got to take part in the Olympic Trials Marathon in Boston a few years back and had a great experience.
Everything was really well run, and they were treated very well, but they were both out of sorts.
They were not immune from the prospect of meeting (and being treated similarly as) the stars in the sport such as Deena Kastor.
Once they got to the starting line, they looked as though they were a couple of scared kids that didn't quite belong.
Both women were a bit nervous and shy, and mostly kept to themselves and the other local runners that they knew going into the race.
Neither of them were really influenced or interfered with by the media.
The Runner's World correspondent that was handling the press conference for the New England Runners seemed to know who all of the other New England qualifiers were, but kept asking, "Who are these people?" for Kristin and Sheri.
The race itself was a mixed bag of emotions for both women.
The marathon is a difficult race, where you put all of your eggs in one basket and hope that everything goes well.
They qualified in Philadelphia, which was a dream race where almost everything seemed to click.
At the Trials, there were no specific plans to run the race together but it almost seemed strange when Sheri and Kristin found themselves apart during the race.
It felt very strange for Sheri to finish the marathon and not know where Kristin was.
She had to be told repeatedly to leave the finish area while she waited to find out whether Kristin was okay and worried that she might have been pulled from the course for some reason.
Sheri would most like to forget the time that she had to wait and worry about Kristin.
Kristin's worst moments in the race that she would most like to forget were very simply the last 5 miles.
They both have some great memories that they hope to hold onto, though.
Kristin most remembers finally getting to the starting line, and scanning the bleachers for her children and her husband.
Sheri also remembers the starting line fondly and thought that she might cry before the gun went off.
She really enjoyed the entire race, though, with family and friends spread throughout the entire course so that she could look forward to seeing each person at each point throughout the race as she completed the loops.
In the days leading up to the race, they hated the idea of running loops and thought that it was going to be a miserable experience.
They did hate the hairpin turns, but both of them wound up loving the criterium course.
They knew exactly where each mile marker was going to be, and they got to see the front runners ahead of them.