Introducing this month's athlete, Jessica Solis-McCarthy! Jessica is an emergency medicine physician who started competing in 2020 for many reasons including her own mental wellbeing. She's fallen in love with endurance sports though and trained and competed throughout her recent pregnancy term. Read on more to get to know this incredibly inspiring athlete on our team!
Occupation: Physician, emergency medicine
How long have you been swimming, cycling, running, and/or doing triathlons?
I’ve always been an active person and have ran as part of sports like basketball or soccer, however I’d be honest I am not a big fan of running by itself. I learned how to “not die” swim at the age of 26 and “actually move forward” swim in 2020 at the same time I began dabbling with triathlon.
What aspects of triathlon do you enjoy most?
For years, I found myself being inconsistent with training as I found myself getting bored with only doing running (being the easier sport to just get up and do—put your shoes on and go). Doing 3 sports and changing up training throughout the week kept me interested as I was mentally and physically changing gears and focusing on a different skill set. Also, why be good in one sport when you can be “meh” in three? The only trick is that you have to prepare hardware ahead of time with cycling and swimming (have a working bike with helmet and don’t forget to pack your swim suit and/or goggles when you go to the pool!).
What has been your favorite training or racing event, and why?
Any event that gets me focused on getting stronger and faster is my favorite. However, I will say Texas Tough Duathlon has been my favorite brag. I like showing folks the scary hills on Dodge road and saying “But wait… there’s more hills! Yeah, I climbed that with my bike… lots of people end up walking it.”
What is your favorite post-workout or race meal?
I go through obsessive phases of foods—I think I’m circling back to Lox bagels on an everything bagel.
What is one recent accomplishment you are proud of?
Since discovering triathlon, I have consistently been training since 2020. Not even pregnancy has thrown me off. Sure, I slowed down some, but I’ve learned to prioritize myself and my health by doing some sort of physical activity most days of the week.
What do you want to be when you grow up? (We're all growing up still!)
A dive master! Scuba has been the other activity outside of endurance sports that has allowed me to quiet the mind, explore during travel, and enjoy nature.
What is something no one knows about you?
I am a very passionate person, to the point where I tear up with big build-ups of emotion. If I am very angry—I cry. If I am really scared—I cry. If I am super proud/happy—I cry. If I am truly touched—I cry. Please don’t be alarmed if you see me tear up—it’s me feeling a lot of something… very situational.
Why do you race/train?
2020 is when I first really got into triathlon—the same year COVID wrecked havoc in the field of medicine. Anticipating the pandemic before the surge hit, I signed up for a half Ironman so as to give me something to train towards. I figured COVID would bring along a stressful time at work and I needed some outlet and a reason to train. I found myself less angry and more mentally calmed as I was airing out all the noise and chaos in my head during training sessions. It is surprising what insights hit you during those long 3-4 hour bike rides. No music, podcasts, or people talking—just you huffing and puffing on the road with your thoughts. It can get pretty dark in your head but it tends to lighten up with physical activity. Training has made me a better human being overall.
Finally, what's next on your race plans?
I’d like to one day complete a full Ironman and maybe one day qualify for championship—if I ever get fast enough. I've just got to slowly keep chipping away on my times. Coach Mark says “it’s simple, not easy.”