A week ago, I made the decision to give Mount Whitney a shot before the snow hits. I have stayed in decent shape through hikes, being on my feet at work, and assorted other workouts, but I have not been training for 14er's. Estimated dates for my Whitney attempt are the 27th and 28th...so next week.
I joined a gym near work last Tuesday and have been alternating upper and lower body workouts with weights, along with pushing my cardio pretty hard with HIIT and incline sessions to wake up my usually very strong cardio engine. By alternating groups, I'm able to harness the benefits of active recovery, whereby I'm still active but I am able to allow the previous day's muscles the relax moreso by using them in minimal ways.
I did 5 gym days in a row, took Monday off, and went on a hike yesterday up Romero Canyon in Santa Barbara. The first 2 miles of the hike went up over 2000' and I was able to nail that in less than an hour, which is a great time for me. Then I reached the fire road and set out to go much higher along a 400'/mile incline. This is where things got interesting. I was wearing my Quest 4D boots from Salomon, a great GoreTex boot I've had for some time but haven't worn in about a year. Just after reaching the road, I felt hotspots starting on both ankles. I took a break to adjust the patterns on my laces and to apply moleskin... and then I continued onward. My left ankle felt pretty fine, but my right ankle's blister got much worse. Finally, at 3.5 miles in, I took of my shoe again and found a blister about 2" in diameter. Moleskin won't help with that.
It was decision time: to hike or not to hike.
1. If I continued to hike, the blisters would most likely worsen. I could tough it out, duct tape them up, and really get in some more miles, getting a better idea of where my fitness level is for Whitney, but there'd be a good chance that the blisters would get so bad they'd last into next week's big hike.
2. I could turn around. By doing this, I'd be going downhill, changing my stride, and thus taking most force off of my heel blister. It would also allow the blister to heal in time for next week.
I decided on choice 2. My leg felt surprisingly strong, my cardio felt great as evidenced by my ability to keep a surprisingly steady pace without breaks, and pushing on to make this a 15 mile hike instead of an 8 mile hike probably would not be worth the benefits considering the damage it would do on my blisters.
My question...what would you have done? Was I right?