MCM preview part II: Miles 14-26.2

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MCM preview part II: Miles 14-26.2

Continued from MCM preview: Miles 1-13

Boom! By this point you're half way to the Finish Festival! Pick up Mile 14 on your way out of Hains Point and get ready for some big crowds and beautiful views of the National Mall.

You'll catch a glimpse of the Jefferson Memorial as you round the Tidal Basin and pass the Mile 15 marker. From here you'll make your way to the National Mall: a five-mile stretch of great fans and great views. Your trip down Independence Avenue includes the Lincoln Memorial after Mile 16 and the Washington Monument just beyond Mile 17.  Just a half mile later you'll enter the MCM Gauntlet at 14th Street and Madison Drive --the first of two time requirements. Marathoners must reach this point by 12:20 p.m. lest they be diverted to an unofficial course.

As you make your way through the Gauntlet you'll pass some of the nation's premier museums, the U.S. Capitol building and the Smithsonian Castle while moving through perhaps the longest stretch of spectators along the race course. Turning back down Jefferson Drive look out for plenty of photographers stationed along the course and even lying in the street to catch the perfect shot of you with the Capitol backdrop. You'll also find the third food station, Jelly Belly Sport Beans, between Miles 18 and 19.

When you exit the Gauntlet and take a left onto 14th Street towards the bridge of the same name, you'll pass the second time requirement at Mile 20: Beat the Bridge. In order to complete the race you need to reach this point by 1:05 p.m., which means maintaining at least a 14 minute/mile pace.  You're so close.  Remember that.  Because the next two miles are going to be lonely as you cross the bridge back into Virginia and make your way down the exit ramps to Crystal City.

You'll be 22 miles in when you reach Crystal City, which features a new 1.5 mile loop this year.  Some of the most colorful and enthusiastic fans line Crystal Drive as they cheer you on before your final push to the finish. To make your home stretch a little sweeter Dunkin Donuts will be set up at Mile 24.  Munchkins of the pumpkin, jelly-filled, chocolate, cinnamon and glazed varieties will be available for runners, inspiring jealously in all spectators nearby.

In your final two miles you'll pass the Pentagon and the MCM Start and continue on as the roar of the Finish Line crowd grows louder in your charge toward the Iwo Jima and U.S. Marine Corps War Memorials. Be prepared for one last hill between the 26th mile and the finish line --the MCM course designer seems to have a cruel sense of humor.

Congratulations: you've just finished the 37th Marine Corps Marathon!  Grab your medal and enjoy the Finish Festival!

Be sure to check back here after the race to see yourself cross the Finish Line.

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Kevin Durant's legacy won't be secured with just one NBA title with Golden State Warriors

Kevin Durant's legacy won't be secured with just one NBA title with Golden State Warriors

For the second time, Kevin Durant is in the NBA Finals. He’ll be with another team, the Golden State Warriors, that’ll be favored to win for the second time in three years.

Even in victory – and Durant will claim he doesn’t care what everyone says about how he got there – questions will remain for one of the league’s most prolific scorers.

Like LeBron James when he eloped to the Miami Heat to get his first two championship rings, credit won’t automatically come with it.

It took James returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to begin turn the page on “The Decision” in 2010 when he joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach.

James led them back from a 3-1 deficit to upset Golden State to win last year’s Finals.

That was without Durant, who has led a team that has yet to lose game in these playoffs with four-game sweeps of the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs.

“They’re in a groove,” Spurs big man Pau Gasol told Bay Area News Group after they lost 129-115 on Monday night. “They know what it takes to win and obviously they’ve been champions, they’ve established records that have never been set before and they’re on a path to get another championship.

"In all my years in the league, they’re playing at the highest level right now.”

[RELATED: Smacking some sense into the Jordan-LeBron and MVP debates]

With Durant, they should be that good. There's no extra credit for that. They have the league's most lethal shooter in Steph Curry, a two-way elite shooter in Klay Thompson and weapons galore. Durant had double-doubles in two of the wins vs. San Antonio, including 29 points and 12 rebounds on the closeout game.

He likely will make up for the 2012 disappointment with the Oklahoma City Thunder when they succumbed in five games to James and the Heat.

They appeared to be on the right track after winning Game 1 over Miami by 11 points only to lose the next four.  Durant could never get back to the Finals, with his next biggest failure professionally coming a year ago.

The Thunder were on the verge of upsetting the defending champion Warriors only to blow a 3-1 series lead in the conference finals. And he responded by joining them.

At least when James bolted Cleveland to join Miami, he didn’t run to a team that had kept him from a championship. The Boston Celtics had eliminated him six games of the conference semifinals despite his triple-double.

Durant one-upped James with his surprising move in free agency, bypassing his hometown Wizards by not even granting them a meeting. Yes, he’s a one-time MVP of the NBA who is now the best player on Golden State that already has a two-time MVP with Curry.

There are a lot of reasons to want to play in the Bay Area. The location alone is enough. But co-owner Joe Lacob has created a fantastic environment with the front office led by Bob Myers and an elite coaching staff. 

Durant's work won't be done by raising one Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy next month. They've done that in Golden State without him.

To the contrary, it'll be just beginning. He'll be judged by how much higher he can take them and in the end even that might not be enough.

[RELATED: Wizards hope to sign Wall to contract extension]

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Jordan Reed missed OTAs Tuesday but was still putting in work with Chad Johnson

Jordan Reed missed OTAs Tuesday but was still putting in work with Chad Johnson

Jordan Reed was reportedly absent from the Redskins' voluntary OTA practice on Tuesday, but a picture on Twitter shows the stud tight end didn't skip the session just so he could lounge around on the couch.

Chad Johnson, expert on all things such as repeatedly hauling in footballs and transforming the end zone into the 18th green at Augusta National, posted this photo of him, Reed and one other fellow, presumably following a workout:

For those who want to freak out that Washington's top offensive threat didn't show up in Ashburn for his team's OTAs, it's important to remember that 1) it was not required and 2) judging by that snapshot, Reed has had no trouble staying in football shape on his own or finding people to hone his craft with.

By the way, peep that hashtag from Johnson. When a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro uses the word legendary to refer to someone else, that someone else should feel pretty good about himself. 

MORE: DID ONE OF THE TEAM'S TIGHT ENDS FORCE THE NFL'S CELEBRATION RULES TO CHANGE?