UPDATE: the orthopedist reviewed my films and confirmed I have two stress fractures. The good news is that my injury is not as bad as was originally thought.
MORE: the doctor suggested I run easy, every other day, in 4 weeks. I protested whether that might be ENOUGH time off, but he seemed to think, as previous chatter indicated, my condition wasn't as severe as other cases. Sarah also confirms this. I, after reviewing other cases, believe this is also the case (ie - other people can't walk, are in constant pain etc, whereas I usually only feel pain after intense exercise).
I have not run in 2 week and will not run for another 4 weeks. Unless I need to revisit second grade, this means I will have had 6 total weeks completely off.
The following 10 weeks I "build back up" to where I left off so that by December I am in full training mode again or, as he put it, "ready to hammer" - that is the 16 week plan. By March, I will be ready to race. He told me to take it easy and use "comfort as a guide".
The big mystery is HOW did I get this injury? He suggested my legs/gait must be fine and thought it was simply a matter of training too much, not a muscle imbalance, which is what Sarah thinks. I replied that I hadn't done any major bumps in training and that my overall progression is actually quite conservative. Additionally, I haven't run MORE on roads or MORE on trails or MORE hills etc. Perhaps this is simply "paying a toll" for being a runner? This doc was one of those behind the recent stretching study, the headline of which indicated that runners will eventually get injured whether they stretch or not. It's a brutal sport and some get hurt more often than others and this is more and more frequent as we age.
In the meantime, I can swim, bike or water run...the latter I'll look into pursuing (though my pool is now closed for the season)
I should be running by October 18th when the cool air will begin to blow through the trees.