Kathleen Andrew Schwarz

Birthdate: 5 November 1957

What is your occupation? Supervising Children's Social Worker; Los Angeles County Dept. of Children and Family Services.

What/when was your first climb? 28 February 2011, San Diego Fight for Air Climb (just 31 floors!)

How many climbs have you completed? 17

Why/how did you start? I just wanted to see if I could finish one.  Also, I was tired of just standing around waiting for Stan and watching everyone else participate.

Do you have a favorite climb? Why? I like the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.  Most people don’t like it, but it's fun because it's in Las Vegas, people travel to the race from all over the country (and even outside the U.S.), and I like looking down inside the open stairwell!

Least favorite climb? Why? The Willis Tower.  It's the tallest building I've ever climbed.  I thought I was going to die.

Why do you climb? I am not a competitive racer, and unfortunately, I don't practice or train enough for it to improve my fitness.  And I actually don't like climbing very much.  But, it's fun to get to say that I've climbed these different buildings, and does give me a sense of accomplishment when I've finished.  Also, we have met so many great people through the sport, who we maintain contact with through social media, and get to see at the races.

Did you have injuries or issues you needed to overcome to climb?  Well, no, other than my inferiority complex.

How do you train? I think about training.  I really should train.  I kind of just show up.  Maybe that's why I'm so slow!

Do you have a special relationship with any of your step-siblings? The best part of this sport is getting to meet different people, and making good friends who do end up feeling like a sort of extended family.  

Who inspires you? Madeleine Fontillas Ronk, and those who have dealt with weight issues including my brother John Andrew, David Garcia, and you, Jane!

Do you have a good luck charm or any superstitions or pre-race rituals?  I have lucky underwear that I've worn for every climb!  They're black and white striped with a metallic silver thread.  I'm not actually sure that they're especially lucky, though.

What's on your iPod during workouts/competitions? I usually like loud hard rock or something with a heavy beat. Some stuff I like is from System of a Down, KONGOS, "Shipping Up to Boston" from Dropkick Murphys, and "Normal Person" from Arcade Fire. I also like dance music, like "Dance Apocolyptic" from Janelle Monae. And of course, "Let it Go" from Frozen works really great, too!

Do you have a website or blog for those interested in learning more about you? No, but I'm sometimes along for Stan's adventures, and his website/blog address is 1134.org

If we had numbers on our jerseys, what would your number be? Something ending in 5, because that's my favorite number.

What would you like to tell others about yourself and your experience with stair climbing that might inspire them in their lives? Whenever people find out that I do stair climbing, the most common things I hear are "you must be in really good shape," and "I could never do that."  Neither of those things are true. I used to work out a lot, and I was pretty fit. I hope someday to get back to that, but right now, my work and commuting schedule just haven't made that possible (yeah, yeah, I know that's an excuse!). So I'm here as proof that anyone who can climb a flight or two of stairs can do one of these races.  I just take my time, and I get there eventually.  Along the way, you get to meet new people, make great friends, and have an excuse to travel to new places!  And if you do have time to practice and train, stair climbing really can help you get in great shape and improve your health and fitness.  But even if that's not your goal, you can still have fun and get a lot out of the sport.