I ran my first 10k race of the season yesterday. The season in Dubai is in winter, as the summer months are far too hot for these kind of outdoor activities. I am not an early morning runner, when I run on my own. I prefer to do my training in the afternoon or early evenings. In too early mornings I am hardly able to put one foot in front of the other.

For races, however, I can get myself to get up at 6am. I love the drive on empty roads and the closer I get to the race location, the more I see other racers in their cars on their way. That alone increases my adrenaline and makes me forget the few hours (and by far not enough) sleep that I had the night before.

I always have a goal time that I like to achieve. This time, I set myself to finish under 49 minutes, perhaps even close to 48:30. As it was the first race since April this year, I wasn’t quite sure were I was standing. High temperatures and humidity that we still have here in Dubai in October (even or especially at 7am) are additional and very unpredictable factors to take into account.
I had a really cool bib number: 111. I got lots of nice comments for that along the way. In the end it all ended well. I was right in my goal finishing time.

After every race, no matter if the times were good or bad, I realize one thing: I like early morning running races, BECAUSE they are so early in the morning. Before you know it’s over. I was back home by 8.30am. I already had achieved something that I was proud of and still had the whole day in front of me. To me, that’s the coolest thing.

After a shower and replenishing lost liquids, it was time for a nice hearty breakfast. Same thing with the cooking as with the running: on a regular day I usually don’t like to cook that early in the morning. That’s why this quinoa porridge is my “special occasion” breakfast. Nonetheless delicious. And, needless to say, nutritious. It has a combination of flavors that is simply beautiful: coconut, bananas and pistachios, rounded up with some vanilla and cinnamon if you like. I’d have it everyday if I wasn’t so lazy in the mornings….

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup coconut milk  + more for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon OR 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 ripe banana, divided
2 tablespoons pistachios, chopped and toasted
2 tablespoons coconut flakes
Yields 1 portion

In a small pot, bring quinoa, cinnamon/vanilla (if using) and coconut milk to a boil, then simmer on low heat until all liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is tender (about 10-15 minutes). Add a little more coconut milk or water if the liquid is absorbed to quickly and the quinoa note done yet. Cut the banana in half, mash one half and stir into the cooked quinoa. Transfer quinoa banana mixture to a breakfast bowl or plate. Drizzle some more coconut milk over the quinoa. Chop the other half banana. Sprinkle over the quinoa along with the chopped pistachios and coconut flakes. Serve immediately.

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  1. Congratulations on your race. I always appreciate good recipes for before, after and during the race.
    I will run my first race ever in 2 weeks. It’s a 10k over a bridge and back, but even on flat my time is around 1:10. So my only goal will be to finish, hopefully barefoot, but maybe with minimal homemade shoes.

    Your recipes and marathon training is inspiring.

  2. Congratulations on your 10k race! This breakfast looks delicious with the coconut flavour. I find I am never quite hungry before a big race, but I know it is the most important time to eat.

  3. @ Steph
    Good luck for your first 10k race. Let me know how it went!! I am sure you will finish, and you will finish in a time that is good for you.
    In the end, in all these races you will run just against yourself. There will always be people that are faster than you. I will never make it into the top 3, as those girls run the 10k in 38 to 40 minutes. Continuity is the key and improving your personal bests, or taking on challenges by running longer distances. You’ll see, once you have done a few 10k races, the Half Marathon is the very next step. It doesn’t take much training, to get from 10k to 21k.

  4. @ janet
    I never eat before 10k races, before a Half Marathon I have a banana at most. To me, its more important, what you eat the day before the race: nothing new, something filling but easily digestable, and not too much for dinner as it will still be in your system when you run early the next morning.

  5. congrats Anja! great race timing! would love to train together sometime if you’re up for it…

    Keep the wonderful race foods coming our way! 🙂

  6. Congrats on a great race! I used to LOVE that feeling of being done with my races before most folks had left their beds. The best part about morning runs – the breakfast reward. Your quinoa recipe looks delish! xo

  7. Thanks for re-posting this recipe in your 2010 favorite. I totally forgot about it. I will make it next weekend after my long run (~15 km). You were right: my first 10k went so well that I’m now training for a half in May and possibly a marathon in November.
    Thanks for all the great posts. Happy 2011 and enjoy your marathon

  8. I love to eat grains and legumes, so this recipe is so superb for my vegetarian taste, thanks so much for sharing such a good recipe with us!

  9. I found this recipe on pinterest and tried it this morning (repinned it too). I subbed almonds for pistachios (I didnt have pistachios). It was absolutely wonderful! Thank you!

  10. I just made this for brunch and it was amazing! It’s so filling as well! I used desiccated coconut and toasted it instead of coconut flakes and used toasted almonds instead of pistachios, incredible! Will definitely make this again, thank you so much for the recipe!

  11. Another lovely recipe Anja – thanks! I’ve just had this for breakfast with flaked almonds on top and it was great – but I could not finish the bowl!
    I also made the quinoa granola bars last night and both my toddler and husband loved them as much a I did 🙂

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