I was in your situation at 23 too! I was a sub-elite runner who had success late in college and, in retrospect, should have gone directly to a team where I could have continued developing. However, I moved to a new city, trained my tail off and worked full time. I did run some great times, got into some good races, made a little extra money. Unfortunately I also got injured due to increased training. Just doing my running, lifting, core work, etc. while working full time was not hard...but when you're injured and have to spend more time cross training, it was too much. I stayed in the injury cycle for several years- I am still kind of stuck in it.
At one time I dreamed of the trials...I was not far off the B standards by the end of college and I kept telling myself "if I train my butt off and do it right, I can get it" ...injuries ruined that. It really bothered me for a LONG time. I too was putting off "real life" and missing out on a lot of other things. People also wondered why I didn't just give it up. I still thought I had a chance, that's why. I trained with several injuries for 4 years hoping it would still pay off.
I finally got in-injured for long enough 2 years ago at the perfect time, started running times comparable to college, and I was thinking this is it, I'm ready, it all paid off. Well, I got injured again in the fall and any thought of trials was gone....but I was ready for it this time. I didn't bother me as much. I went to watch trials last year and it was sort of like a full-circle closure experience for me. Don't get me wrong, some days when I have a great run or workout, I still think...maybe I should get into it again...but then I realize I enjoy being able to take a day off when it's pouring or not having to wake up at 4 am to run if I am going somewhere early.
My point is, I tried and tried and tried,..and ultimately failed at my real goal. BUT...now that I am "out of it" so to say, I'm happy that I at least tried. I do not regret putting off a "real job" or going back to grad school or any of it. Now that i have a good career and am kind of doing normal life, I'm strangely ok with it because I know I tried. It would have bothered me forever if I didn't.
I think you should keep going. You're absolutely right that there aren't as many women as men still getting after it. If anything please keep all of us women who tried in mind while you do this. Once you're really ready to move on, you will, and there won't be a question that its the right thing to do. I'm begging you, please GET AFTER IT.