Running · Travel

Running Through Rice Paddies

I flew to Korea two weeks ago to see my parents and little sister who have been living in Pyeongtaek for the past two years. While planning for the trip, I envisioned myself running 15-20 miles a day through the rice paddies my dad had described. The main problem with this idea was that I brought my one-year-old daughter. Running with jet lag is tough. Doing anything with a jet lagged baby is near impossible.

I’ve been out of the ultra running scene since late 2017 when I found out I was going to be a mother. I’m eager to get back into it, though, because we are moving to China this summer. I want to run some of the Hong Kong ultras and the one in Gobi Desert. But, that’s me getting way ahead of myself. I’m lucky to pull out 15 miles a week right now, and that’s without a tiny jet lagged monster (who is currently licking my pants under the table and glaring at me as I write this).

So, after two weeks of trying to recover from a hellish flight and a 13-hour time change with a baby, I finally got to go running. My parents live close to Camp Humphreys, and this area is full of rice paddies. Here’s the route we took:

There are endless little farm roads to run on in between rice fields.

To get to the farms, we first had to run on chopped up sidewalks, through puddles with wires laying in them, and jump out of the way of speeding trucks angrily passing forklifts. There are forklifts driving on the roads constantly here. Behind Kia and Hyundai, the forklift seems to be the commuter vehicle of choice.

Once we hit the “trails,” we passed by several burial mounds and monuments. These are hidden all over the place!

The farmers in the paddies are all really friendly and waved as we ran by. I wonder what they think of us goofy foreigners running around their farms. Running on the narrow roads with terraced rice paddies on either side is picturesque- it’s exactly what you’d imagine.

We met a ferocious guard dog on our run, too.

Headed Home

We ran just over 4 miles, and it was one of the most enjoyable runs I’ve had in a while. It’s hardly got me ready to do 50 miles in the Gobi, but it’s a start.

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