Carole Herrick won the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,500 and 3,000 meter runs two weeks ago at the Potomac Valley AAU track meet.

Yesterday, the 37-year-old McLean woman stepped onto a court at the Edgemoor Tennis Club to defend her top ranking in the MALTA 35-and-over singles and doubles.

When Herrick is not playing tennis or running, she teaches tennis two to three times a week and tries to complete 40 paintings a year for the art gallery she partly owns. She and her husband, Phillip, have adopted a 9-month-old boy, Charlie.

"I don't see what all the fuss is over about me being so competitive in tennis and track and being a housewife too," said Herrick. "It's just a way of life for me - natural."

Reflecting on the topic for a minute, Herrick added. "The only real desire I have is to play and have fun. And, naturally, I always try to do the best that I can. I set goals for myself but I don't set urealistic goals."

Jeff Darman, president of Road Runners of America, describes Herrick as "a top competitor. She's getting better every meet."

And Nancy Watson, president of MALTA women's tennis, says, "I think Carole Herrick is a unique woman. Most women who play tennis run for conditioning, but not competitively."

Raised in the Southern California town of Arcadia, Herrick first learned to play tennis from her father, a tennis professional.

"I've been playing tennis all of my life," she said. "As a matter of fact I grew up around tennis. I was always taught that you had to be No. 1 to survive. My parents used to tell me that if you were going to do something then do it well."

In the early 1960s, Herrick was ranked in the top 20 women in U.S. tennis. "I always wanted to be ranked in the top 10 but I never made it. I used to get pretty depressed about it, but now it doesn't bother me," she said.

Herrick has played at Forest Hills a half dozen or so times and twice has played - and lost - at Wimmbledon. "Wimbledon was neat - one big social event where everyone was treated as if they were No. 1.

"I was beaten pretty badly the first time," she recalled. Her opponent was Australian Jan Lehaine. According to Herrick, her second loss at Wimbledon was a close match against Joyce Williams of Scotland. "But I don't feel too bad about losing at Wimbledon - after all, only the cream of the crop get into it."

Only recently has Herrick started competing as a runner.

"I used to run around the neighborhood to stay in shape for tennis," she said. "But running by yourself can become boring. So last December a friend of mine invited me to a D.C. Road Runners track meet, which I competed in, and since then I have been hooked."

In her six-event sweep June 25, Herrick ran the 100 meters in 14.3, the 200 in 31.9, the 400 in 68.8, the 800 in 2:4, the 1,500 in 5:24 and the 3,000 in 12:31. The week before she had finished 17th among 2,000 competitors in the Bonnie Bell 10-kilometers race.

On June 15 she was the fir st woman to finish four-mile race, with a time of 24:56. Then July 4, she won the women's 7.5 kilometer run at the Takoma Park Independence Day Festival.Her time was 34:30, minutes before than she had done the year before.

Philip Herrick is a professional tennis instructor at Congressional Country Club. "He's very supportive," explains Carole Herrick. "When I run, which is sometimes late at night, he watches the baby.

"Chico (Phillip) and Charlie come first. If I set my mind on something I will most likely do it, but my husband keeps me intact. If I were to say I wanted to be No. 1, in the world in tennis, he would say no. It would just take too much time. I won't go play racketball with a friend because I am afraid I'll get hooked on it."

Herrick does manage her time well. "I get to play with Charlie a lot while watching TV talk shows and stringing rackets for Chico. I take him (the baby) most places I go.Most tennis clubs have nurseries."

The walls in the Herricks' condominium are lined with her paintings. "I started painting quite awhile ago. I may not be Leroy Neiman but I do well." Herrick paints only sports scenes, which she photographs first.

She recently opened the Canal Street Ballery with a few friends. According to Herrick she has about 200 paintings in her attic done. "Most of my paintings sell for $250 to $500," she said.

Herrick would like to compete in tennis for 10 more years and run in the next Boston Marathon.

Knowing her schedule is tight, Herrick thought a second time about the Boston Marathon. "Yes," she said. "I'll be in it."