Well apparently, after consulting my physical therapy friends (I love working at a hospital), my IT band is strained. It is a common running injury of irritating the iliotibial band, a muscle on the outside of the thigh, which becomes tendinous and results in a friction syndrome by rubbing against the femur as it runs alongside the knee joint.
After working with a PT for a while, I was finally able to walk without limping. He hopes I can be out running soon, while utilizing some before and after stretches. Until then, I might be looking into purchasing some new running shoes. I plan to be 'fitted' again to ensure I am in the appropriate shoe for my stride. But for now I rest, ice, and elevate as much as possible. Being on my feet all day at the hospital, and walking 3 miles a day on average, 'rest' is a relative term.
I can't thank everyone enough for their thoughts and encouraging words. It is so easy to be overwhelmed with a running injury. I have spent countless hours training- stretching rigorously and not increasing mileage too soon- trying to do everything the right way as to avoid an injury. And 3 1/2 weeks before my race, BAM! it hits me. Very discouraging. But thanks to my amazing and experienced running friends, I feel assured that I will get through this silly thing. Apparently, this is very common...
...Wait a second, does this mean I'm part of the prestigious Runner's Club now that I've had a 'runner's injury'? Can I consider myself a real live runner now? Probably not :) But I'll pretend.