Tabal: We need rice

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Saturday, April 5, 2014


CEBU’s Mary Joy Tabal and Eduardo Buenavista touched down in a freezing Paris the other day as they prepare to join the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris on Sunday at the Champs-Élysées near the historic landmark Arc de Triomphe.

Although she had prepared her body for the taxing task ahead, Tabal said there are two things that worry her--it is too cold and they can’t find rice.

“I am very excited to race side by side some of the world’s best. But what worries me is it’s very cold here. It is 14 degrees. I have trained well since December, conditioning my body for the marathon. But I didn’t expect it to be this cold,” said Tabal, who arrived in Paris with Buenavista and coach Rio dela Cruz.

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Tabal and Buenavista earned the right to represent the country in the Paris Marathon after dominating the National Milo Marathon last December in Manila.

Buenavista, a two-time Olympian, topped the men’s division with a time of 2:27:14, while Tabal won in record-breaking fashion in 2:48, making her the country’s top female marathoner.

Her win earned the runner a major award in last month’s Sportswriters Association of Cebu-San Miguel Beer Sports Awards.

Tabal said that she and coach Philip Dueñas took time in her recovery after the Milo Marathon before going back to her regular grind.

“We took time in my recovery and for about a month after Milo Marathon, we focused on my strengthening. Then we had two months of proper training until March. My body is ready. Medyo wala lang nako naprepare akong lawas sa weather kay init kaayo sa Cebu,” said Tabal.

Yesterday, Tabal and Buenavista woke up at 4:30 a.m. to run in the streets of Paris to get acclimatized with the coldness of the city.

These athletes may have the sturdiest and leanest of bodies, but these bodies need food. And while some people shun rice and would gladly welcome a no-rice meal, one of Tabal and Buenavista’s biggest problems in Paris is they can’t find rice. They had steak in their first dinner in Paris but the duo are looking for rice.

“Lahi ra gyud ang busog sa rice. We are looking for an alternative. Coach Rio is looking all over the city for Thai restaurants,” said Tabal.

Tabal said she hopes to put on a good performance in tomorrow’s race.

“I know it will be hard to win. To finish with an improved time will already be a huge accomplishment for me in Paris,” said Tabal.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 05, 2014.

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