Smoke, Stroke, Ironman Bloke

My name is Russell Winwood, I was born in 1966 in Brisbane Australia. I’ve had a good life thus far but have had a few health issues along the way. I have decided to take to blogging to share my experiences with other people in the hope that it can help people with similar health issues. I was diagnosed with asthma when I was young, but managed to have an active childhood playing sports & doing what most kids do. In my late teens I started smoking socially, I’m not sure why as I knew it was bad for me but continue to be a social smoker until I was 36.

Christmas Day 2002 I collapsed , too many years of not looking after myself had caught up with me in the form of a stroke. Time to change my habits , I gave up the cigarettes , started eating better, at the time of my stroke I was 88 kg about 15 kg over weight . My son had just started cycling & talked me into taking it up, best thing I ever did . The weight started coming off & I started feeling like a 36 year old should.

A friend of mine suggested I should do a triathlon, & after a little hesitation because I wasn’t a great swimmer I agreed. So for the next 8yrs I raced into varying distances of triathlons from sprint to Half Ironman as well as a couple of ultra marathons.

In 2011 after noticing my times were getting slower, exercise was getting harder & I was constantly short of breath I took myself off to the Doctors. Spirometer & lung function tests confirmed I had copd, surprisingly the scan showed that there was no damage to my lungs from smoking. My airways had become very narrow due to years of chest infections causing a build up of scar tissue.







And so my Ironman journey begins , hopefully my blogs will give some insight on exercising with copd & respiratory disease in general.

8 comments on “Smoke, Stroke, Ironman Bloke

  1. Just passed two people running up this highway in Carrum/Edithvale wearing DonateLife colours, along with a few pink hat supporters. Very proud to see you out there, hope you finish well. Jodi


  2. Hi Russell, thanks for reaching out. Our stories are quite similar it seems! More and more I’m hearing of how people came to triathlon and the challenges they have since overcome. But it’s the love of the sport that keeps us going!


  3. Hi Russell, thanks for reaching out. It seems are stories are quite similar! More and more I’m hearing of the challenges traithletes have overcome, and it’s the love of the sport that keeps them going. Congrats on Melbourne IM! I’ll be doing my first full up in Cairns, I would love to meet up for a chat, one lung disease survivor to another ;)


  4. Sounds like a plan, be great to exchange thoughts. I have a guest blogger lined up to tell her very inspiring story in the next few weeks, would you be interested in doing a guest blog ?


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