OK, inspired by all of this I looked more closely at the GPS from my recent runs.
If I take out stops for traffic & lazy-ass walking most running was 9 something pace, so not quite as bad as I thought. Further inspired by that I went for a run, and instead of running on roads where I have to stop all the time (which is a good thing given my fitness), I ran the 1/2 mile to the high school track and just ran for 5K.
Started out at a reasonable pace and tried to just keep going. Ended up running it at just under 9 minute pace. So I think getting to 8 minute pace (25 mins) in 8 weeks in a race should be doable if I just get back to running regularly.
Of course, I will probably wake up tomorrow injured.