Leah Myers
The Navigator

Photo courtesy: Lorrie Baildham

After a long day of office work, Lorrie Baildham, manager of Information Systems at Vancouver Island University, has an itching to stretch her legs.

That’s when she focuses on her true passion – training to be a successful triathlete. It’s competitive sport incorporating swimming, cycling and long-distance running into a single race.

Baildham geared up for the adventure of her life last week – the 2013 World Triathlon Age Group Championships in London, England.

“I’m excited,” says Baildham. “It will be my first trip to London.”

Baildham is thankful for the opportunity to compete overseas despite suffering injuries in a major bike crash at a road race in Pitt Meadows last April. Baildham broke her wrist and collarbone and was in recovery mode for 10 weeks.

But this intrepid triathlete was back training in just three weeks. “I had a neighbour loan me his spin bike which I rode almost every day,” she says. “I started walking again and then running stairs. Now I am running, cycling and swimming.

“I am still going to London but I realize I won’t be in the shape I was hoping to be in before the accident. I can’t change things. I’m a little disappointed about what happened but it is what it is.”

Baildham knows all about bouncing back from adversity. In the past, she was a championship squash player, but after several injuries her doctor recommended trying a lower impact sport such as swimming.

Baildham began triathlon training a few years ago. She participated in three competitions last year, placing second at the Shawnigan Lake and Penticton races, and first place in Sooke for the 50 +   age group division.

Triathlon competition in Baildham’s division involves a 1,500 metre swim, a 40-kilometre bicycle ride and 10-kilometre run.

Baildham says the swimming portion of her training is her biggest struggle because she’s never had professional swimming lessons prior to triathlon training. “I swallowed a lot of pool water,” laughs Baildham, who admits that although she felt like quitting at times, she just reminded herself that nobody learns how to swim in the first few lessons.

Staying active has always played an important role in Baildham’s life and she says a healthy dose of exercise is an everyday habit for her, like brushing her teeth.

“Your body gets used to the exercise,” says Baildham, “and it’s something I need after sitting all day at work.”