(05-05) 21:00 PDT -- Erik Olson loves the sound of the starter's pistol.
The Novato High junior spends countless hours cruising Marin County roads, but the pain-inducing moments when he is chasing another personal-best mark are what feed Olson, who has made one of the most remarkable improvements in recent memory this season.
"I'm addicted to racing," Olson said. "And when we're not racing, I know the end-of-the-week workouts will be hard."
After lowering his own national-best time in the 3,200 meters Saturday, Olson - the distance equivalent to a starting pitcher in a groove - will not get the ball this week. The Novato runners are taking a week off before next week's Marin County Athletic League meet. Perhaps it's an opportunity for Olson to relax after a whirlwind first couple of months to the season.
A wiry 5-foot-10, 120-pounder, Olson won the 3,200 meters at the Sacramento Meet of Champions in 8 minutes, 55.19 seconds on Saturday. He broke a 21-year-old meet record and also beat his previous national-best time of 8:57.51, which he ran at the Woody Wilson Invitational earlier this season.
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Novato runner is gaining notice in the 3,200 M