Jye Edwards will be the first to admit the past few months have been an absolute whirlwind.
And with the Tokyo Olympic Games set to start later this month, his wild ride shows no signs of slowing down.
He will be going for gold in the 1500 metres.
The Nowra Athletics Club product, despite all that's going on in his life presently, is trying to smell the roses and live in the moment.
"It's all been a whirlwind and I didn't expect to qualify for an Olympics this early in my career - I'm shocked, to be honest," Edwards said.
"Paris was a more realistic possibility but even then, I didn't think I had a huge chance to make it.
"It all means a lot and I'm really trying to enjoy this as much as I can because it'll be my first real time pulling on the green and gold for Australia.
"Throw is the fact it'll be at an Olympic Games makes it even more special."
His opportunity might not have presented itself if the Games were held in 2020 like originally scheduled.
"It's funny, the whole COVID-19 pandemic has obviously impacted people in so many different ways," Edwards, who competed at the world cross-country championships as a teenager, said.
"I feel really sorry for people who it's negatively impacted because, for me, it's been a dream come true, in the fact the Games have been delayed a year.
"Last year, I was no chance of making the team, so I've been really lucky in that regard, as I assume, on the flip side, there have been people who have missed out because they were in shape in 2020 but not now."
A reason for that was Edwards battled to return to full fitness following surgery in his right achilles at the end of 2017.
"The three seasons after that surgery, I really struggled with injuries - I could barely string four months of training together before I'd pick up another complaint," he said.
"It was a super frustrating time in my life, as it was never the same type of injury that popped up and disrupted my training.
"By the midway point of 2020, I'd managed to get myself into some decent shape and just when it appeared things were going well, I'd sustain another injury, which saw me go back to square on.
"Thankfully, with a couple of some tweaks to my training, I've been able to stay injury-free the past 10 months and string together a solid chunk of running.
"Admittedly, I've had the odd niggle here and there during that time but nothing I couldn't manage and prevented me from running.
"The timing was been perfect for me, as I got some solid runs in at the start of the year leading into nationals - a meet that couldn't have gone any better for me personally.
"Not only did I win it, but I also ran the qualifying time, which is quite rare, and gained automatic selection to the Games.
"It's probably been the best period of my career and I hope I can continue it over the next few months."
Since booking his Tokyo ticket in April, the Warilla High School alumnus has been based at France's Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via, where his coach Dick Telford, who he's been with for four years, and two training partners Rory Hunter and James Nipperess, have been partaking in strenuous altitude workouts.
"Before coming over to Europe, we've been lucky to spend a fair bit of time up at Perisher, as it's only two hours from our Australian training base in Canberra," Edwards, who has also recently been joined in camp by fellow Australian Tokyo athletes Jeff Riseley (800-metre) and Edward Trippas (3000-metre steeplechase), said.
"Both Perisher and Font-Romeu, which is are at a similar altitude, have been super beneficial for me as an athlete while providing an environment where we can constantly push each other.
"With Dick being a physiologist too, he's studied the benefits this type of training can have on an athlete a lot - it's worked on countless of his athletes before too.
"There's no doubt the training is hard yakka with the thinness of the air but the environment, up and away from everyone else, allows us all to really just focus on improving us runners each and every day - especially with the calibre of competitors we have up here at the moment."
These improvements were on show at Oslo's Svein Arne Hansen Dream Mile, where the 23-year-old ran an eight-second personal best to finish the prestigious race in third - following wins at both Nice and Decines-Charpieu.
"Looking back on the [Oslo] race, I'm obviously stoked with the result and the time, considering it didn't play out perfectly for me," he said.
"I finished that race thinking I could have got a little more out of myself if I had gotten into a better position early on.
"The plan was to sit mid-pack but having the inside barrier to start and getting pushed straight to the bend, I got shuffled back early and was further back than I had hoped.
"It kind of left me with too much work to do to catch Stewart [McSweyn] and the other leaders.
"The strategy, in theory, was better than going out too fast and fading away but for me, it's all one big learning curve and I took plenty out of that race.
"It's given me a lot of confidence heading into my next race in Monaco, where I'll be looking to get out a little quicker and get closer to the front."
That Monaco race will be run on Friday, where Edwards will line up at his second Diamond League event in eights days, against a 1500-metre field that will be not too dissimilar from that he'll face in Tokyo.
Along with fellow Australian McSweyn, the field also consists of Kenya's current world champion Timothy Cheruiyot and Norwegian brothers Filip and Jakob Ingebrigtsen.
"This race will be a perfect lead-in to Tokyo, as most guys who are going to be right up there at the Olympics are scheduled to run on Friday," Edwards said.
"While it's my fourth race over here, it's just my second in the Diamond League, so I'm pretty much getting thrown in the deep end.
"But to me, there's no better way to test where I'm at than against the best in the world.
"Ideally, I'd love to run another personal best, around the 3.32 mark, which I'm confident is a real possibility.
"The race will definitely set itself up to be quick enough, I just hope I can get up there, pace myself and hold on for a solid finish."
Following the quick trip to Monaco, Edwards' team will return to the south of France briefly before transitioning into some sea-level training in Germany.
"At Tubingen, we will spend close to a week doing some hard sea-level work because obviously, you can train better in those conditions as there's more oxygen in the air," he said.
"Dick knows how important it is to get those higher quality sessions in before Tokyo.
"Following the German base, we will head straight into a mini-camp near Tokyo before we go into the actual athletes' village.
"These couple of days will allow us to acclimatise to the weather conditions, get on the Tokyo time-zone and fine-tune any last-minute adjustments we want to make.
"Thankfully for me as a 1500-metre runner, the mugginess won't be as big of a factor as other longer races, so it shouldn't take me too long to get used to the heat.
"All these strategies should give us athletes the best chance to succeed in Tokyo."
Edwards, once in the Japanese capital, admits it'll be a dream come true to be on the start line of an Olympic Games - when the heats of the 1500-metre get underway on Tuesday, August 3.
"It's going to be super special to have the chance to be in that Olympic environment, albeit slightly different to years past," Edwards said.
"I experienced that a little bit at my first Diamond League meet last week, where all the athletes, including numerous world champions, were walking around beside you in the dining room.
"I was in the Oslo stadium when Karsten Warholm broke the 400-metre hurdles world record in front of his home fans last week and the atmosphere was electric - easily one of the best I've experienced to date.
"Even though there were only 5000 fans there, it sounded like a lot more, which will be very similar to when I line up for my first race in Tokyo.
"It's got me even more excited to get on the Olympic start line."
Going into his maiden Games, the goal is to make the final but he knows that equation is easier said than done.
"The 1500-metre race is so tactical, so to make the final, I might have to run a low 3.30s but it could also be significantly slower than that," he said.
"It all depends on how the preliminary races play out.
"If they are tactical, it's imperative you really close that last 600 metres hard.
"Realistically and looking at the lay of the land, I'm going to have to run a personal best just to make it and even then, that might not even guarantee it.
"I'm going to be as fit as I can possibly be to give myself every chance to achieve that - which is my big goal going into my first Games.
"I'd love that more than anything because that would be as good as it could get for me at this stage of my career but realistically, if I continue to progress as a runner and leave it all out of the track, I'll walk away happy."
Without looking too far into the future, the Canberra-based athlete hopes these Games can be the making of Jye Edwards.
"I've probably flown a little under the radar the past few years because of my injuries but now that I get to call myself an Olympian, that won't be the case," he said.
"I hope this can be the start of my successful international career in athletics, where I'll hopefully get the chance to compete at more Olympics and other major competitions.
"But I don't want to get too hard ahead of myself and take things one step at a time - my main focus is doing everyone back home proud and giving my all at these Games."
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