Okay, I finally got to a doctor's today about the knees.
I phoned a couple of days ago to Dr. Maharam's office and got an appointment for this morning. Dr. Maharam is the NYRR doctor and the lead physician for the ING Marathon. He also takes care of lots of other runners, so choosing him is a no-brainer. His office doesn't take insurance, but does provide paperwork to help you try to get insurance re-imbursement. I don't expect I'll be reimbursed, but I don't care -- my knees are too important to be going instead to an HMO quack. Maharam's office is conveniently located and he comes with good references.
More importantly, he does the right things, I feel. He looked at my feet and how they move on the treadmill. He lamented my genetics. He said I had "runner's legs" but that isn't necessarily helpful -- weak inside-the-thigh muscle.
We're trying orthotics. I think once these temporaries compress a bit, things will begin to improve with my knees. The right one feels OK. The left is bulky-feeling and makes my shoe too small. That's to be expected. When I come back from my vacation, I begin therapy, too, to help strengthen the weak muscles and work on my illio-tibial band. I'll also be fitted with custom orthotics at that time.
Given this strategy, my runners' knees should be much much better in six to eight weeks (I'm not pushing it, especially since I'll be on the road for four or five of those weeks!)
Mostly, I'm relieved that my problems aren't permanent, that they're addressable and that the pain will eventually go away and I'll be able to comfortably knock out long distances without major pain or any damage.