it wasn't booting into factory recovery, i was mistaken. it was booting up to a screen with a yellow triangle and a phone and it would just sit there. i messed with it all night and after going back to factory settings and rooting several times to start over with a clean slate i have figured out that there's some kind of problem with it flashing clockwork recovery to my phone. on a clean 2.0.1 rom with root when it installs clockwork it will lock up after you give it su permissions which causes some kind of problem with it trying to flash the cyanogen rom after downloading it and it would go the yellow triangle screen mentioned.
apparently clockwork recovery won't work with the unroot_update.zip either. i've looked but i can't find any information where it says that doesn't work. at one point i thought i had bricked my phone because no matter what rom i put on my card in a .zip format it would not install it. wouldn't use my previous nandroid backups i had made with sprecovery either.
on the bright side i did find a much easier way to install sprecovery. if you were freshly rooted all you have to do is download rom manager, tell it to install clockwork recovery and as soon as the status bar beings to fill, click your back button or whatever that little arrow in the left corner is called. then go back into rom manager and scroll to the bottom and choose sprecovery and voila, you're done. no adb needed.