Yes, root and flash are totally different.
What do you mean unconventionally? What was the process used?
To root easily you must unlock your device. There is a good guide in the General Infinity forum.
A harder way to root is to go back to Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), root, use RootKeeper, Upgrade to 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean) and re-root with RootKeeper.
A really good thing to do before screwing with your tablet is to do a complete back-up in the event something goes wrong.