Benchmarking Vs Goals

I read that some organizations that incessantly benchmarked Toyota for quality lost the track of their own goals.
Their excuse was that they got “better” in the process.
Sharing a similar life exp.
At a recent marathon, I was trying to achieve a 70-minute target to complete my 10k and hence wanted to keep the 70-minute pacer in my sight.
Pacers are runners who bear a flag with their pace mentioned on it. They are like moving benchmarks.
I usually complete my 10Ks in 74 minutes In the first 2 km or so, I lost sight of my pacer.
Disaster!
A little hope was lost but I continued to run at my pace. After 4km or so I improvised slowly.
To my surprise, at 6km I could see the pacer as a distant bright green dot with a flag.
At 7.5km I almost matched his pace! I could hear him cheering other runners but he remained elusive.
I never reached a distance where I could have hollered a hello to him.
The last 1.5 km was uphill run to the finish line. I performed my worst here. The pacer was now a distant dot again and I lost sight of him.
I completed my 10KM in 72 min.
The pacer was my benchmark. My goal was 70 mins.
Live benchmarking is an elusive dream. The pacer (like Toyota) maintained pace on all running terrains, I couldn’t.

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