Thanks to everyone for the helpful and encouraging comments in response to my last post. Many of you were very dead on in your recommendations and observations. I had my Iron levels retested last week and was pleased to learn that I have been absorbing the supplements quite nicely. My ferritin levels rose from 33 to 97 (the doctor I saw in January suggested I should shoot for getting it up to 100).
I'm back in Alaska now and my plan is to begin the gradual process of getting my strength and fitness back to where I know it can be. I intend to take it fairly easy in the next couple weeks and then begin to incorporate some weight training and some intentional speed work, as my body hopefully starts to feel like it has more energy. It's been so long since I've done any consistent training below 9:00/mile (due to the altitude I've been living at), that even getting out on some mellow 7:30-8:00/mile runs will be a much needed jolt to my system.
I went ahead today and officially pulled myself out of Hardrock! I'm super bummed to have to do this, but I know that I can't be ready to run that race the way I want to run it, and I just don't want to dig myself any deeper into a hole. I think I have a plan in place that could get me back in top racing shape in a 4 or 5 months, but if I tried to run Hardrock in the middle of that it might set things back another several months, and I'm just not willing to do that right now. It's been about a year since I was last able to run fast and feel good doing so. I feel pretty good just plugging along at a mellow pace, but for now I'm not content to only plug along at a slow pace. I want to run fast sometimes too, and I'm quite excited about the challenge of teaching my body to do so again.