MCM preview: Miles 1-13

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MCM preview: Miles 1-13

Want to know what to expect from the course of the 37th Marine Corps Marathon? CSNwashington.com's resident MCM veteran is here to give you the skinny on what to expect on race day in a two-part MCM preview.

Have a pair of old running shoes lying around?  Bring them with you to the Health and Fitness Expo at the DC Armory where you'll pick up your race day packet.  There you can donate your old shoes to local homeless shelters and receive a 5 dollar gift card from DSW in return.  The Expo will be held Thursday, October 25 from 4-8 p.m., Friday, October 26 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday, October 27 from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. 

Grab your race bib in the pick-up tent across from the Armory then head inside to expo to claim your MCM long-sleave shirt and check out over 200 vendors.

The metro will open at 5 a.m. on race day and runners should use the Pentagon station to access the MCM starting line.  Race day parking is also available in Crystal City at 23rd Street and Crystal Drive with shuttle service that will bring you to the Runners Village.  Post-race shuttles and taxis will also be available at the Finish Festival, which is accessible from the Rosslyn Metro Station.  

This year's start line is located jut beyond the Pentagon, along Arlington National Cemetery.  Runners will head north down Route 110 and will pass the first mile marker directly in the heart of Rosslyn. Be prepared for a slow start after the gun --you might have a lengthy wait to reach the start but this will be subtracted from your official time. After passing that first mile marker (just 25.2 more to go!), you'll hang a right onto North Lynn Street, avoiding a very daunting Wilson Boulevard hill looming ahead. You won't be skirting an incline entirely though. Before reaching the Key Bridge you'll turn up Lee Highway and begin to ascend its slightly less-steep cousin where the course rises about 150 feet in elevation from the first mile marker to just beyond the second.

With the largest hill of your 26.2-mile journey behind you, you'll find the first water station. Now, I'm not here to tell anyone how to run their race, but chances are most runners won't need water after just two miles. If you happen to be with me on that, avoid the slowdowns on the sides of the streets and stick to the middle of the road --the second water and gatorade station lies just two more miles ahead. From this point you'll enjoy a little better than a mile-and-a-half of down hill running along tree-lined Spout Run and George Washington Parkway.  You may still find yourself cutting around other runners but the course will open up a bit more after the Mile-4 marker when you reach the Key Bridge.

As you make your way up the slight incline to the bridge (and are blinded by the morning sun) you'll hear the roar of thousands of spectators waiting to greet you as you cross into DC. From here you should find a bit more separation from other runners and will be able to begin settling into your target pace. After crossing the bridge, the course takes a turn away from Georgetown and heads into the woods along Canal Road before looping back to MacArthur Boulevard between Miles 6 and 7. The turn will also bring you through the Palisades neighborhood as you climb the second largest, but thankfully last significant, hill of the course on MacArthur. On the downward slope back to Georgetown, you'll reach Mile-8 just before hopping on M Street to make your way through picturesque Georgetown and the first big pop of spectators.

Just beyond nine miles in you'll come across the first food station: oranges!  Grab a few wedges to refuel before exiting Georgetown onto the Rock Creek Parkway, where you'll follow the Potomac River notching Mile 10 after the Kennedy Center and Mile 11 at the Lincoln Memorial, then continue along the Potomac on Ohio Drive to head out to Hains Point, a somewhat lonely and sparsely spectator-lined place.  The MCM crew seems to think of everything though: to counter the lack of traditional crowd noise you'll find several stages set up along the 3-mile loop featuring bands and dance groups -plenty of entertainment to keep you motivated out on the island.  

Or simply find your own motivation in hitting the halfway point. Your call.

Either way, there will be a band, a Clif Shots station and, thankfully, a water station to follow. Keep it up -you're half way there.

Part Two: Miles 14-26.2

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New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

You can always count on the New York Daily News to run an audacious cover. The tabloid delivered again Friday with an image edited to show two of the league's best young hitters in Yankees pinstripes: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Orioles short stop Manny Machado. 

"Bats to the Future" is exactly the headline you'd expect, too.  

It's hard to tell what's more odious to Washington and Baltimore fans: the image itself or the suggestion that baseball's new collective bargaining agreement makes it easier for the Yankees to poach their stars. 

The premise of that argument comes from sources who say the new CBA contains two changes beneficial to New York: reduced revenue sharing burden (due to tweaks in how sharing is calculated, plus a deduction for the cost of building and running Yankee Stadium) and an increased luxury tax threshold. 

Without going into number crunching detail, the Daily News explains how the club could afford Harper and/or Machado when they become free agents after the 2018 season. 

The article's tone of inevitability, despite its many assumptions, will rankle fans of all 29 other teams. After all, the Yankees aren't the only franchise interested in Harper and Machado. 

The Nationals and Orioles will presumably try to keep their stars. But to do that, they may have to fend off potentially historic money from the Bronx. 

MORE BASEBALL: Nats let Ben Revere walk

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Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

As the Cowboys take their long week off after consecutive Thursday games the Redskins, Giants, Eagles, and other wild card contenders are in action. Here is Tandler’s weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL.

—The Giants are on a six-game winning streak and while that’s not easy to do against any level of competition it needs to be pointed out that their slate was squishy-soft with the last five wins coming against teams that currently have losing records. Now things get real with a trip to play the Steelers and a home date against the Cowboys. I’m not really sure how good the Giants are but if they split these two games I’ll be more impressed with them than I am now.

—The 5-6 Eagles travel to play the Bengals, who are just about out of contention for a sixth straight playoff appearance at 3-7-1. In fact, the Eagles might be just about out of it, too. Their big problem is 3-6 conference record, which puts them behind several other wild card contenders in this tiebreaker. It’s important because that is the second tiebreaker behind head to head. It’s better for the Redskins if the Bengals win but it probably won’t matter much. The consensus in Philadelphia seems to be that the Eagles are a rebuilding team that got off to a hot start, kindling some unrealistic hopes and expectations for the rest of 2016.

—The team is the hottest pursuit of the Redskins is the Buccaneers, who travel to San Diego to play a game that starts at the same time as Washington-Arizona. The Chargers are 5-6 but they are buried in last in the tough AFC West. This game is a coin flip. Redskins fans should root for the Chargers. If the Bucs lose, the Redskins would still hold the second wild card at the end of the day even if they should lose to the Cardinals.

—The 5-6 Saints are on the fringes of the wild card picture. They host the Lions, who are leading the NFC North by a game and a half over the Vikings and two games over the Packers. It’s probably best if the Lions win, which would just about eliminate the Saints. Still, there is a scenario where the Lions go into a minor tailspin, lose the division to either the Packers or Vikings but have a good enough record to take the second wild card. So like with most games within the NFC until the dust settles some more, there is some upside and some downside no matter which team wins.

—That scenario where the Lions fade from the division lead become a whole lot less likely if the Texans can go to Green Bay and beat the Packers. This is an interconference game so it’s an easy call to pull for Houston.

—Seattle, with a three-game lead in the NFC West, hosts the Panthers, who are on the outer fringe of the wild card race at 4-7. Another loss likely would ensure that Carolina won’t be able to defend its NFC title. This isn’t a pivotal game but probably better if the Seahawks win to end it for the wounded but potentially dangerous Panthers.

—My one loss last week was the Seahawks giving 5.5 on the road to the Bucs. I won with the Saints over the Rams and the Falcons over the Cardinals. This week I’m giving the Seahawks another go, giving 7 to the Panthers, and I’m taking the Patriots -13.5 against the Rams (the loss of Gronk doesn’t do much to equalize these teams) and the Saints giving 6 to the Lions.

MORE REDSKINS: Betting on the Redskins' playoff chances