Whether it’s repairing electric engines or running an ultramarathon, Richard Carvalho (Equipment Repair Supervisor, Caretaking) connects the dots between problem-solving and managing your mind. As an 11-year veteran of Lethbridge’s Lost Soul Marathon, Richard is adept at keeping his mind and body under control. He applies those principles to his work here at uLethbridge, and that’s why he’s this week’s Inspiring Light.
“September’s race was my 11th year completing the 100 mile Lost Soul Marathon. It was a tough one, but I had to finish it.
Each year is different. That’s what I like about it. Your body and mindset react differently in every race you do. You run all day and through the night so you start in the morning at a steady pace, not too fast and not too slowYou’re looking at a long distance. Initially, you can do it on muscle memory and training but in the second half, your body starts breaking down with aches, pains and muscle fatigue and that’s when your mind has to take over.
You experience different challenges and you learn how to overcome them or cope with them. You can put your body through a lot, but in the end, it’s your mind you have to deal with.
I’ve run four Marathons (26 miles) and close to 20 ultra marathons since 2001. I usually finish at the 25 to 30-hour mark. That’s slow, compared to elite runners, but I’m not elite – I do it for fun and just to challenge myself.
You go through a lot of highs and lows during the race. It’s a process of seeing how many you can get through without giving up. It relates well to my work here as the Equipment Repair Supervisor. I’m problem-solving every day. Any challenge I come up against, it’s like a brick wall and there are various ways to approach getting around or over it. Finding a new way to overcome a challenge when you think you’ve exhausted every avenue is very satisfying.
We have hundreds of pieces of equipment from vacuums to large floor scrubbing machines. Everything has to be checked to make sure it doesn’t break down at an inopportune time, so there’s a lot of preventative maintenance to do every day. Anything to do with electric motors and electro-mechanic equipment gets brought to me. Sometimes we either can’t get new parts or we’re working on a piece of equipment that we need to keep limping along, so we try to modify it or build a part for it. I find so much enjoyment in that.
I feel so appreciated in my work here at the University of Lethbridge. There’s a broad spectrum of people here that I enjoy, and I run with faculty members and people from my department. I appreciate that we all have different hobbies and aspects of our lives, but fundamentally we are similar in so many ways.”