That said, I made one of my biggest mistakes yet on saturday, I let my ego get the best of me and ran it out more than was needed at the end (Zipper, Red Rocks MA) and slipped a foot causing me to whip a solid 20 feet onto a blue tcu.
20 feet, so you was at 10 feet over your pro. Quite natural for a trad climber. If you try ant's line, the crux is protectable, but you lost a lot of energy and have to be take on your cam if you are not strong enought. The game is to push and place a pro at ten or more feet over the crux. Is it a mistake?
In one case, you lost power, on the other you have a longer fall and more fun and proudness if you succeed. Notice that you fall in the air, without chances to be on a ledge. It is a decision that a person have to take. if I feel weak, I will put more pro because I can not control the situation, if I am in good shape, I will plan where to jump without pro. Same person, two different situation, that is the game of trad, no rules to follow like a line of bolt, just decision.
If this can help you, try to do aid climbing. You are going to be more confident on your pro. if you climb some hard aid, where two or three pro are questionable in a row, you are going to be more aware of the possibility of a fall. real couragfe is when you know the danger and use your skill to make it safe, not to ignore the danger to be bolt