First - thank you for mentioning the elementals. Was just this morning stuck in a fight where I couldn't figure out why these two bozos (the vine guys) just weren't dying. I had thought that you got the best element out of all equipment you had, but maybe that's not true?
Anyway, I can return the favor - when you run away, the game puts you back right *before* the fight, so you can respec and go back in. (Just swapped my VI grass with a IV fire, and suddenly those two just went down like chumps.)