Which Half Marathon pace to aim for this Sunday

This Sunday is my "big race" for the year, the Celebration Half-Marathon.  While not as prepared as I'd like to be, I'm definitely more prepared than I was last year for my first ever HM.  No more time left for training runs, so now I'm trying to decide which pace to aim for.
A brief recap of last year's HM: 13:20 per mile pace with a 173 bpm Avg HR (198 bpm Max HR at the finish line).  My training went pretty well over the summer, but my running schedule went a bit haywire after the school year resumed.  I never covered more than 10 miles in my inconsistent training, so the last few miles of the race should be fun.
I plan on signing up with one of the member's of the pace team, but I'm debating which pace to shoot for.  The pacer choices in the approximate vicinity of my expected race pace are:
11:26, 10:41, 10:18, 9:55, 9:33, 9:10, and 8:58.
A sampling of some of my recent runs include:
  • 1.0 mile, 8:42 pace, 168 bpm (HRZ 7)
  • 3.6 miles, 10:43 pace, 146 bpm (HRZ 3)
  • 3.7 miles, 11:06 pace, 147 bpm (HRZ 3)
  • 6.5 miles, 12:58 pace, 137 bpm (HRZ 2)
  • 5.0 miles, 13:28 pace, 133 bpm (HRZ 1)
  • 8.0 miles, 13:29 pace, 142 bpm (HRZ 2)
Based on my test run HR and speed zones, I would expect to have a pace of 10:24 to 9:58 and a HR range of 155 to 159.  One of the online calculators predicts a 10:26 pace based on my last 1 mile time.
The prudent thing to do would be signing up with the 11:26 pacer.  Based on the calculators, perhaps I should sign up with the 10:18 pacer. That said, the 9:55 pacer and the allure of trying for a sub-10:00 mile is oh-so tempting.
Your thoughts?

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Comment by Jacob Cossairt on February 3, 2015 at 11:13pm

Hi Lori,

I had been procrastinating on declaring my 2015 CI.  Not putting it off any longer; here it is!


Comment by Lori Enlow on February 3, 2015 at 5:03pm
That's great! So what is your 2015 cool impossible?
Comment by Carolynn on January 27, 2015 at 8:21am
Congrats Jacob on your race ! My first semi is in 3 months and I'm really wondering how THAT's going to go ! Way to go !
Comment by Robert Burpee on January 27, 2015 at 12:51am
Well done again on the 15km PB (PR) by 21:39 now thats huge, your numbers are falling like leaves in autum. Your an inspiration to us all Jacob, keep us posted
Comment by Jacob Cossairt on January 27, 2015 at 12:14am

Robert, weather was similar to last year but about 10 degrees cooler.  The race started out at 43 degrees F, which is pretty cold for Florida.  For comparison, my previous long run was in 84 degree F weather.

Comment by Jacob Cossairt on January 26, 2015 at 8:28pm

Thanks guys. :)

Also, beat my 15K PR by 21 minutes 39 seconds.  (They had the course setup to register split times.  15K time was 1:47:29 and 10K time was 1:09:50.)

Comment by Robert Burpee on January 26, 2015 at 4:24pm
Congratulations Jacob on your improvement, 16 min is amazing.
What was the weather like, was it similar to last year?
Comment by Rich Warne on January 26, 2015 at 4:09pm
Well done on the 16 minutes improvement that's a big old chunk
Comment by Jacob Cossairt on January 25, 2015 at 4:01pm

Thanks!  Overall I enjoyed the race.  I wasn't able to finish as quickly as I had hoped, but it went well enough considering the infrequency of my training over the last few months.

I finished 16 minutes faster than last year's race(12:05 min per mile vs. last year's 13:20 pace).  The heart rate monitor was misbehaving quite a bit and stopped working completely 9 miles in.  It listed an avg HR of 165 bpm.  (Last year's avg was 173 bpm.)

I started out the race by trailing the 11:26 pacer but sped up a bit after 2 miles.  I must have slowed back down because the pacer caught back up with me around the 5 mile mark.  :)  My breathing was good, but my legs had started to feel tired.

I stayed with the pacer until about 8.5 miles in where I began to feel a bit nauseous.  The HRM happened to be working at that time and revealed a pulse of 185 bpm.  Rather than gut through it and try to continue towards the 2 hr 30 min goal, I decided to enjoy myself instead and switched to run / walking.  The final time in the end was 2 hr 39 min; I don't think the extra pain would have been worth the 9 minutes of improvement.

Comment by Eric Orton on January 25, 2015 at 12:48pm

Hope you had a great race today!

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