1. Sign up for another: We went over this, but this will give you something to look forward to. It takes the edge off the sting because you KNOW there's another, which means another opportunity to rock.
2. Talk about it: When people ask you how your big day went, don't be afraid to tell them. Especially if they are runners, everyone has had a bad race. The beauty of being a runner is that every one's training peaks and troughs. Our troughs aren't what we tend to share, we are inclined to fudge our times, our mile splits, etc-but when you can look someone in the eye and honestly say "I didn't do my best," it gives you the vulnerability to accept comfort and advice.
4. Treat yourself: To a meal, to a massage, to a new pair of jeans. Anything. This may be some sort of instant gratification, but allowing yourself to splurge a little to overcome your mental anguish is pretty priceless isn't it?
5. Do not look at your training log more than once: Your inclination will be to look at your log and figure out where you went wrong. You'll agonize over every mile, every minute before the race-just trying to figure it out. Let it be. Look forward. Plan ahead, look at your next race as an opportunity to a clean your slate and succeed in training. Yes, it's important to evaluate and identify mistakes-but do not dwell on them.
6. Run: When you're ready, run again. Fall in love again. It's natural to be discouraged, and paralyzed with running fear. Find the motivation to just run again, for one mile or a few. Chances are you'll remember that you're not running for glory, it's bigger than that.
7. Cry, if you have to: Hey, it's a big deal. Don't be afraid to shed a tear. You looked forward to this day all year, you trained for six months. There's no shame in letting it out-silently, alone in a dark closet. No, I'm kidding-cry, real women cry. You're only allowed to cry once for a marathon: so chances are if you didn't cry at the finish line, you can do so later.