professional marathoner
Molly Seidel is an American long-distance runner who rose to prominence in 2021 when she won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in the Marathon. She is the first American to medal since Deena Kastor's bronze in 2004. This was an incredible feat especially considering that it was only her third marathon ever at the time.
  • Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Marathon, 3rd Place
  • Marathon personal best: 2:24:32 (NYC Marathon)
  • Finished 4th in the 2021 NYC Marathon with two cracked ribs
"I tried them out (Sidekick) and I was absolutely hooked."
When did you first come across scraping?
I first came across scraping from my physical therapist who when I was injured, helped use it to get my muscles gliding better and mobilize the muscles. I first started using it by using a bottle opener, but then switched to the real deal tools that are much more effective. 

How did you hear about Sidekick?
I had been scraping for a little bit using a crappy little bottle opener and a friend of mine saw it and was like, “Hey, you should use these great tools, I use them all the time”. I tried them out and I was absolutely hooked. 

How would you compare Sidekick to the bottle opener?
oh my gosh, it's not even a comparison! Being able to use an actual scraping tool that's got the weight to it and the smoother edges, you just notice a big difference in the muscles, whereas I think with less well-made tools, you feel it much more in the skin, and it's not quite as effective. When you have that quality tool to use, it's getting deep into the muscle, and that's what it should be doing.   

When do you use your scraper?
I use my scraper all the time - I use it before my runs to mobilize and warm up the muscles, and then I'll use it afterwards to help loosen things up. I also love to use it when I'm sitting on the couch, just watching TV. It was funny, my boyfriend was seeing me do it all the time, he’s like“ What is that?”, and so I showed him and now he's obsessed with it too, so he's stealing mine all the time. 

What else do you use for your recovery?
I use the foam roller quite a bit, I spent a lot of time hanging out on the vibrating foam roller, the pulse has been really, really nice to be able to get deep in the muscles. Then I use the stretching band todo active mobility stretches, and then a massage gun to work deep in the muscles. 

How do you know when to use your different recovery tools when you have so many?
It's hard. It's like I was joking about this the other day of how the Inuit have 500 words for snow, I feel like a runner has 500 words for pain and soreness that they feel. And so when you feel a very specific kind of deep “stuckness”, the way that I describe it is “swappiness” in the muscle where things just feel tight and like they're not moving well and efficiently, and the muscle feels like it has all these adhesions in it. The scraping tool is so great for flushing out all of that and getting the blood flow moving. That's when you see that redness coming up on your skin and you know the blood is getting back into the muscle.  

Can you explain “swampiness”?
Swampiness is when your muscles feel tight and stuck. You feel like they're no longer getting the full range of motion, or it can even feel like they just don't have that "pop" anymore and are not quite as elastic. Scraping is great for fixing that.

Scraping is really great for increasing the extensibility of a muscle which makes your muscles more elastic. More like a rubber band. And when your muscles feel like a rubber band that's been stretched out way too much, you know, it's time to start working through them to get them back to their “Poppiness” again.  

What injuries do you have?
I've been dealing with a hip impingement for the better part of the last 10 months at this point. It's been very frustrating because it causes a lot of the muscles in my hip, quads and my glutes to get extremely tight and extremely painful. And so it's been really important to be able to work through some of that impingement with the scraping tool and be able to get into those deep muscles in a way that I can't get with my hands alone, so it's been really helpful, especially in these times when I'm working through big injuries. If I can't run because I'm in too much pain, I'm going in and I'm putting that time into bodywork.  

Do you use it for injury prevention or relief?
I would probably say more prevention or active prevention. I've come back from a run countless times and something starts to flare up (eg. my quads start to ache), and so I've avoided a lot of injuries by immediately going at those spots with the scraper.

If something is truly injured, like if I pulled my quad, then I need to let it rest and I'll work the muscles around it instead. I'm not going to town on a pulled quad with the scraper because I don't want to damage it more. So for me, I feel like staying ahead of your injuries is the biggest benefit that it has given to me.

How does someone know what good pain and bad pain is?
A lot of new runners struggle to distinguish between something that is sore and a good painful and something that is injured and a bad, painful. A lot of doing body work on yourself, such as doing your own scraping or foam rolling every day is learning how your body feels and learning how to distinguish those things. Because you never want to be scraping or going too hard on a muscle that's pulled or something that's truly injured. But when you feel something that's tight or sore or not feeling optimally, it's really useful to be able to work through that yourself. A lot of just growing in this form is learning your own body and learning to be able to distinguish between good, painful and bad, painful.  

Where do you scrape?
I have my scraper in my bag with me right now, and so whenever I'm driving to go run somewhere, after you've been sitting in the car, you just do quick scraping to mobilize, get the blood moving, get things ready to go. And then afterwards, I'm usually stretching out of the back of my car.  

I tie my stretch bands to the wheel of my car and then I'm also scraping the areas that need to be worked through. I call my car “my roving office” because in this sport and in my job, being able to maintain my body is the number one thing and so if I can fit all my rehab stuff in the back, I can do it wherever I'm going to run.   

How does scraping help your hip impingement?
With the hip impingement, which means my hip is tracking wrong, it’ll pinch on to the muscles and overstrain them, especially those on the outside of the hip or the back of the hip. With the scraper, I'm able to work through those muscles and loosen it up, so that I’m able to heal a little bit quicker. 

How does scraping help non-existing injuries?
When I'm running 130 miles a week to prepare for a marathon, I'm inevitably going to be getting very sore and very tired in the muscles. Particularly my legs, quads, calves, and especially the muscles around my knee. Being able to go through with my Sidekick and work through all of that and work through the soreness, tiredness and the swampiness of my muscles is really essential to make sure that I'm performing at my peak every single day. 

How does scraping help your knee pain? 
A lot of my knee problems come from muscles that are tight all around the knee and they pull it in all different directions. Being able to work through the quad muscles actually alleviates a lot of the knee pain that I experienced from training. Everyone always says “oh running will ruin your knees”, but if you're keeping the muscles around the knee healthy, then running is great for your knees. You just have to make sure that you're doing the work to protect them. 

How hard is it learn scraping? 
The scraping techniques are very easy to learn, and the biggest thing is knowing your body. If something hurts or doesn't feel good, you know that better than anyone else. Because of this, I think sometimes scraping is more effective when you do it on yourself. You're able to feel exactly where you're going, as opposed to when someone is scraping you, they can't feel how it is. You can tell when it’s working through some of those muscles, versus “ooh, that's really sharp and that doesn't feel good”. When that happens, I know to back off from there, and so you know your body better than anyone else. And because of that it's super easy to learn scraping and specifically in the way that’s going to benefit you most.
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