After I moaned a bit in my last post, I wandered over to the Running Room near me in order to buy some gel pads. They didn't have any but the lovely folks there gave me a tidbit of info that I found totally useful - the shoes I had been using were quite low on padding in the toe area.
Since I had intentions of purchasing trail running shoes in the spring, I asked about their cushioning levels in the toe box and lo & behold: better! I've had my eye (just one) on these Nike Zoom Structure Triax+ for a bit now, I obviously like the crazy muppet look. Plus they have the built in hidey spot for my Nike+ sensor so hey, double win!
In any event, the bottom line is I took these babies out for a 6.5km test drive and all signs are pointing towards this might be a solution. Granted, I look like a muppet barfed all over me when I run, given that I have a lilac windbreaker, electric blue running jacket and now these awesome magenta babies. Wewt! But my left foot is not feeling as obviously tragic as it had been, so I have my fingers crossed that by Wednesday it will feel better enough that I will have a good baseline to judge.