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November 30, 2012

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My First 10K: Green Bank Turkey Trot Inaugural Trail 10K

Gray clouds, swirling wind, spitting snow and 30 degree temperatures, was the weather I woke up to for my first ever 10k race over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 6 weeks ago I signed up for the Green Bank Turkey Trot Trail 10K and began training on the local trails in Roanoke. But the race would take me to the foot of the Appalachian Mountains where the first National Radio Astronomy  Observatory resides in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, and my beloved hometown. It's a chilly place in November. 

The 10K snaked through fields, roads, and new, very well maintained trails on the NRAO property. I ran past all the telescopes, of which I know very well from my childhood roaming on the property. My father worked at NRAO for 40-some years, so it's always a nolsstalgic place to visit. My favorite view from the race however wasn't of a telescope but instead wildlife. I was a third of they way finished with the race and on my favorite part of the expansive federal land NRAO consumes. It was on this old logging road as I was making a push up one of the more challenging hills a deer the size of an elk jumped the fence and crossed in front of me. He was massive and elegant.

After that I was totally distracted by my surroundings and 1hour 1 minute 20 seconds later I finish my first trail 10K, confident I'll keep this form of Thanksgiving celebration up for years to come. 

Photos: Since I was running a race, I didn't take a camera but can share images of the NRAO property I have taken in the summer. 

Photo: (GBT) Green Bank Telescope, the world's largest fully steerable radio astronomy telescope. I got to run around and practically under this guy at the 2.8 mile marker of the race. 

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV is about 3 hours from Roanoke, 120 total miles one way and worth every second it takes to get there. If you wish to visit NRAO and take a tour of the worlds first radio observatory stop in at the new science center and take a bus tour, watch a short film on the history of the astronomy, browse the exhibition hall and warm up with a nice, country meal at the science center's cafe. Visit their website for more information and hours: http://www.nrao.edu/index.php/learn/gbsc.

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November 30, 2012

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