For the past two weeks, I've been feeling kinda...run down. My long run on March 14 didn't go very well. I was scheduled for 22 with 11 moderate, and I had to cut it short at 19 because I felt horrible. My midweek runs were still mostly okay, so I figured it was a fluke. Bad long runs do happen! Then on March 21, I was scheduled for a 3:30 timed run. I had to cut it short again at 19 miles (just a touch under 3 hours). That was worrisome. I started to worry that I really had done too much. I took Monday off completely (from work, too--was feeling really weird, lightheaded and just drained). I began to think perhaps I'm low on iron. It wouldn't be the first time, and since Mark and I have been in frugal mode lately, we haven't been eating as much red meat. Also, the second bad long run happened right after my lady time. So maybe with that and the super-high mileage, I just haven't been getting enough.
After my day off, I continued to treat last week as a cutback week--dropped the mileage a little and skipped my Tuesday speed workout. I also started taking ferrous sulfate (an iron supplement), which is what I took a few years ago when I was anemic. I'm not taking as much as back then. I just figure I need a little boost. By Thursday, I felt a little better. Then I rocked my Friday tempo repeats and then yesterday, after dreading it all week, I finally did my 3:30 timed run, coming in at 23.32 miles (9:00 pace). I'm not feeling perfect, but I'm feeling solid and that's actually the equivalent of perfect at this point in the training cycle!
A note on the ferrous sulfate: I've read that it takes a few weeks for iron stores to replenish themselves (making red blood cells and whatnot), so I don't think my rebound was necessarily because I started taking the iron supplement. I'm going to keep up with the ferrous sulfate for a couple more weeks just in case. Taking too MUCH iron can also be harmful, but being a woman and an endurance athlete, I would have to take a really insane amount to get my levels up that high.
I have one more hard week. It'll be more than last week, but well under my peak week. I'll cap it off with one last long run, about 2:45 and no more than 3 hours, maybe 18-20 miles. Then comes a 2-week taper. Hudson doesn't call it a taper so much as a sharpening period, so the next three weeks will involve a lot of marathon pace, but of course less and less mileage. I can't believe I'll be tapering for the Boston Marathon in only one week!