June 25th, 2010
10:04 AM ET

NY cop preps for race day with Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Back in January, CNN introduced the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge: Six lucky CNN viewers were chosen to train and  race the Nautica New York City Triathlon with Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. They've been swimming, biking, and running for months to get ready for the race. Now with only a few weeks left before the big day, it's time to check in with some of the "6-pack." First up, New York City police officer Dean Hanan.

When Hanan, 32, submitted his video to CNN's iReport page, he said he and his wife were starting to think about having a baby. But before he was ready to become a father, Hanan wanted to get in shape and kick his smoking habit.

"I thought to myself if I'm going to have a child, I want to provide them with a really good image of me, their dad. Because when I was growing up I always had a really good image of my dad – he was always running, always in shape, and healthy," says Hanan. "I wanted to be able to provide the same thing and I knew that if I didn't start now it would never happen."

Years of working long, odd hours as a rookie police officer caused the once fit Hanan to forgo his normal fitness routine. The former lifeguard was eventually eating fast food regularly while smoking around 10 to 15 cigarettes a day.

"I live right upstairs from a McDonald's so McDonald's was pretty easy if I was coming home from a late night or if I was coming home from work at 8 in the morning and I was too tired to grab breakfast," says Hanan.

But that was then. Life has changed dramatically since he started triathlon training.

"I hardly recall – I think about three weeks ago I think I had...some type of potato thing at McDonald's... a hashbrown," says Hanan. "I told myself I would run at least two miles to burn that off."

And his smoking habit is almost history.

"I'm smoking zero a day," says Hanan. "But I think... the threat of smoking one or two with a beer once every month or two months where there's an occasion, I think it's always going to be there but I'm never going back to buying a pack every day."

Still, all the lifestyle changes he's made are adding up for Hanan. He's lost weight, exercises regularly, and he and his wife may start trying to become pregnant as early as this fall. In April, he and fellow competitor Linda Fisher-Lewis, shared their fears and inspirations about training.

"When I would hop on a bike when I was smoking, I wouldn't smell as many nice smells as I smell now," says Hanan. "Now I pass by the ocean and there's a strong smell of salt water.... That's huge, that I can smell, I can taste."

"I can run a lot easier, I can swim a lot easier so there's definitely a difference."

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Greg

    There are great marathon training workouts posted on Holosfitness.com. Thanks to online fitness tools like Holosfitness.com, its easy for people to ease into triathlon training programs at their own pace without feeling obligated to adhere to a strict routine.

    June 25, 2010 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ash

    this is really great about these people. i didn't catch their age. i was diagnoesd with stage 4 cancer last year at the age of 33. i just did a triathalon (mini – 1/2 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 5k) and then i did the warrior dash which is a 3.5 mile obstacle course through rugged terrain. i hope cnn is reaching out to younger people who have late stage cancer too.

    June 28, 2010 at 01:41 | Report abuse | Reply
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.