Holy effing crap. I went off course while leading by ~4:00 at mile 16... feeling incredible, controlled and just jogging. I came back on course well back and 100% mentally defeated. I'm a complete mental marshmallow... I gave up. I was caught maybe 15:00 later by Karl Meltzer... who went on to win!? Smart dude, he bided his time and was the smartest guy on the day. I just watched him go and didn't care.
At maybe mile 25 I heard someone coming up on me quickly. It turned out to be the guy who was behind me (in 3rd) when I went off course... he also got lost but a little worse than me. I wouldn't be surprised if everyone but Karl went off course. My original plan to hold back with the express purpose of NOT going off course went out the window when I talked to the race director who assured me the course was well marked. Even after I pulled up to just get in a long workout, there were MANY times when I had to stop or back track to find the next pink ribbon. At one point I was with Todd Gangelhoff and another runner and we all missed a turn. Ugh.
I'm furious less at the course and more at myself for being so mentally weak and giving up when I got back on course. I should have gone with Karl too who ran awesome and is the wiser of us all! Shit.
And to top it off I'm stranded in Glenwood Springs in a blizzard because they closed I-70.